House of Assembly: Vol3 - WEDNESDAY 8 MAY 1985
laid upon the Table:
To be referred to the appropriate Standing Committee, unless the House decides otherwise within three sitting days.
I have to announce that 60 years ago today, on 8 May 1925, a Joint Sitting of the Senate and the House of Assembly was held at which the Official Languages of the Union Bill, 1925, was passed. The Bill was assented to by the Governor-General on 22 May 1925 and promulgated in the Government Gazette on 27 May 1925 as Act No 8 of 1925.
This Act was retrospective to 31 May 1910 and provided that the word “Dutch” in section 137 of the South Africa Act, 1909, included Afrikaans, which meant that Afrikaans was recognized by law as one of the official languages of the Union.
The passing of the Act was preceded by a Report of a Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Assembly which presented the Bill that was passed by the Joint Sitting of the two Houses.
†Act No 8 of 1925 was repealed by section 120 of the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, No 32 of 1961, section 108(1) of which provided inter alia as follows:
while section 119 thereof provided that “Afrikaans” included Dutch.
Section 108 was entrenched by section 118, which provided that the repeal or alteration of the first-mentioned section required a majority of at least two-thirds of the total number of members of the Senate and the House of Assembly sitting together, and since 1981 (after the abolition of the Senate) a similar majority of the members of the House of Assembly.
Section 89 of the Constitution of 1983 contians an identical provision on the recognition and rights of the two languages, but the provision relating to Dutch was not re-enacted. In terms of section 99(2) of the Constitution a majority of at least two-thirds in every House is required to repeal or amend section 89, and a joint sitting of the Houses is therefore no longer necessary.
*In celebration of this memorable event in the history of the Afrikaans language a ceremony will be held in the Gallery Hall of the Parliamentary Building at 17h45 today, where a display on the coming into being and recognition of Afrikaans will be opened by me.
The State President will deliver a commemorative address.
The business of the three Houses will be suspended at 17h30 and all members of Parliament are invited to attend the ceremony in the Gallery Hall at 17h45.
Mr Speaker, in the light of your announcement I move:
Vote No 4—“Constitutional Development and Planning” (contd):
Mr Chairman, I should like to call the committee’s attention to an aspect of this department’s responsibility which was most contentious in the past and unfortunately appears to remain so at this stage, although perhaps to a slightly lesser extent. It deals with the administration of group areas. I understand the hon the Deputy Minister is more specifically concerned with this and the granting of permits in terms of the Group Areas Act. I wish to refer particularly to a few cases which have attracted the attention of the media over the past few months. They relate to the refusal of the department to grant an open permit for the use of certain community halls belonging to the Cape Town City Council. Two in particular are of interest, namely the Sea Point Civic Centre and the Muizenberg Civic Centre.
The background to this is important because it has to be borne in mind that the department has already granted such open permits to the majority of civic centres which fall under the control of the Cape Town City Council so that they may be used freely by members of all racial groups—naturally subject to certain reservations which I shall deal with later. Nevertheless, an exception was made as regards a few of these halls and more particularly those at Sea Point and Muizenberg.
According to Press reports the reasons given by the hon the Minister himself for this are that adequate facilities exist in the areas inhabited by those of other races in the Cape Peninsula—Coloureds, Indians and Blacks—and as for adequate facilities not existing, civic centres to which such open permits have been granted are adequate to fulfil the needs of those people. Unfortunately that argument does not hold water because the same activities are not offered at each of these centres. One cannot, as in the case of restaurants, as well go to a restaurant in one part of the city as in another. One cannot participate in precisely the same activities at the various civic centres. If for example, an eisteddfod is being held at the Sea Point Civic Centre, it will be of no avail to a Black person that a beer festival is being held at the Claremont Centre where he may go. If he wishes to attend the eisteddfod, he wishes to do so and if he wishes to attend an art exhibition in the Muizenberg City Hall, he wishes to do so. It will be of no use to him then that a badmintion tournament is being held in the Rondebosch City Hall so that argument does not actually hold good. It is a question of the activity taking place at a specific civic centre. For that reason a variety of such centres exists in various areas; it is not merely for geographical reasons. It is particularly for creating the opportunity of offering a variety of activities by various organizations to the public. It is no less than right, it is no less than a moral right to which people may lay claim, that they should be able to make use of them freely.
I wish to say further that it is going to be of no use to Coloureds and other non-White groups to whom it is geographically convenient to attend a production or some occasion or other in a civic centre such as that at Sea Point or Muizenberg that those facilities are available at some place geographically inaccessible to them. Once again this is something we should bear in mind and something the hon the Minister and his department obviously lost sight of in their refusal of these permits.
Another case which also drew the attention of the media concerned the Three Arts Theatre in Plumstead to which a permit was granted for so-called live productions whereas such a permit is not available for cinema shows. According to the hon the Minister’s reasons, this is once again based on the grounds that adequate cinema facilities exist in the areas where Blacks, Coloureds and Indians live. This is a ridiculous reason again.
Hon members sitting in this committee who attend a cinema show from time to time are not necessarily going to do so in the area where they live. They will attend it at a time convenient to them and they will view a film of interest to them or which sounds attractive to them or which has received a good review in some magazine or newspaper. It is useless saying there are adequate cinema facilities in those people’s own areas because they may possibly not be offering the same facilities or shows.
I therefore cannot see how the hon the Minister, the hon the Deputy Minister or the department can put forward this type of reason.
I should like to put a specific question to the hon the Minister because I have a document with me from the Cape Town City Council in which it gives a summary of the conditions that hold when permits are granted in respect of civic centres. Here open permits are involved which are granted subject to certain conditions. The conditions read:
[Interjections.] We know the idea of mixed dancing has already posed an enormous problem to the NP for a long time. The second condition runs:
[Interjections.] Now I wonder what clouded brain came to the conclusion that mixed roller skating posed a danger to the White’s identity or to the good order of our society.
What type of roller skating are you talking about now?
Now I see where the problem may lie. [Interjections.] It may be that mixed roller skating is coming dangerously close to mixed dancing—as seen from the hon the Minister’s point of view. The third condition is something one could expect from the Government:
I should like to know from the hon the Deputy Minister or from the hon the Minister himself whether these conditions still exist today because they are ridiculous, played out and a poor reflection on our society and the standards maintained by the Government. This is particularly as regards roller and ice skating because do they not fall under sport? [Interjections.] It may naturally depend upon the point of view held by people on these matters but I wish to say it is coming dangerously close to breaking a promise which the Government most specifically made that group areas or other restrictions would not apply to sports activities. If these types of conditions are, in fact, stated for the opening of civic centres and facilities provided by a local authority, this is diametrically opposed to the assurance given by the hon the Minister of National Education that restrictions no longer existed on normalized or mixed sport. The hon the Minister is requested to reply to this.
These matters indicate that the Group Areas Act remains a thorn in the flesh and that it is one of the Acts which should be placed urgently in the spotlight and to a much greater extent than is the case at present. I cannot see that one can argue that the Group Areas Act and the restrictions it imposes do not fall under the cases of discrimination which the State President himself said should be removed if they were hurtful and unnecessary. Most of these matters fall under these restrictions. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, since the debate on Constitutional Development and Planning is nearing its end, I should like to make a contribution on a certain aspect concerned with planning.
The hon member for Green Point referred to the Group Areas Act. He knows that the matter is being investigated by the President’s Council and that a report may be expected shortly.
I should like to refer to the planning of the creation of infrastructure in an attempt to promote development in a decentralized way. The country has been divided into eight regions to make proper planning of the development in the various regions possible. It is advisable that overconcentrated development should not take place chiefly in the PWV area. Members of the Official Opposition have repeatedly said they support decentralization provided it is not done for ideological reasons. I think decentralization should be promoted specifically for economic and social reasons. I do not know whether the Opposition is aware of the costs to the State of overconcentrated development in the PWV area or the large metropolitan areas. I established for example that the cost of subsidies to commuter transport and development in metropolitan areas amount to approximately R1,4 billion per annum. If one further considers the cost of the enormously high subsidies paid for the proportionally reasonably high standard of housing in metropolitan areas, one is made aware of the actual costs of overconcentrated development in metropolitan areas. If these costs could be saved, many undesirable aspects could be prevented.
It is a fact for instance that many Blacks work as migrant labourers in metropolitan areas—and I am referring specifically to the PWV area again as well as to the Western Cape—to which hundreds of thousands of Blacks move in the hope of obtaining job opportunities there which they cannot obtain in or near the areas where they live. That is the only reason for such an enormous flow to those areas. Even if they obtain work in the PWV area or the metropolitan area of the Western Cape, these Blacks still do not desire to take their families there because they wish their families—their children—to remain in the cultural and social circumstances of their own communities. If industrial development could take place on a decentralized basis and the necessary infrastructure be created—and I am referring at present specifically to two areas, namely the Eastern Cape and the Tugela catchment area in Natal—that infrastructure could be provided at a cheaper price as would be the case here in the Western Cape or in the PWV area.
One of the hon members of the Opposition doubted the fact that this would be possible. I contend, however, that if that housing could be supplied in the northern part of Natal within the social circumstances of those people, that housing would to a great extent …
Mr Chairman, will the hon member tell us how it can possibly be cheaper to create new employment opportunities in one of these decentralized areas than in an established town where the infrastructure is already available but where 50 000 to 70 000 people are unemployed?
I should like to tell the hon member for Walmer that if there are 80 000 Blacks living in Crossroads under the most primitive, unhygienic conditions, and of whom at least three quarters have come there purely because they cannot get employment in the Eastern Cape … [Interjections.] … to provide housing for those people under the self-build scheme where sweat capital can be employed to a certain extent—normally the capital would be provided by the State—would be far cheaper. If the work or labour content of the construction of housing alone is taken into consideration, it would be far cheaper. Where those people come from they usually already have some form of housing. They usually already have a basic infrastructure, even if it is on a more primitive basis. In the Ladysmith and the Tugela Basin areas most of those people already have housing. However, if they have to leave their families behind in the available housing and go to the PWV area, new housing conditions have to be created. Apart from that, transport subsidies have to be paid. This is how infrastructures are duplicated—by the influx into the metropolitan areas. A tremendous percentage of this duplication can be overcome if industrial employment opportunities can be provided in decentralized areas. That is why I believe it is advisable for economic and social reasons to provide more employment opportunities in decentralized areas.
It will cost four times as much.
It certainly does not cost four times as much. It is cheaper to build houses in the decentralized areas than it is to provide not only houses but all the infrastructure that goes with this to a very much higher standard in the centralized areas. [Interjections.] For that reason I feel that considerably more attention should be given to providing decentralized development within the eight specific industrial development areas that have been planned with the economic development of Southern Africa in mind.
Mr Chairman, I am a hundred per cent in agreement with every word the hon member for Klip River uttered and I wish to congratulate him on the very good speech he made today. I wish to say to the hon member for Klip River the CP will support any effort of the Government’s to bring about decentralized development in and around the homelands so that Black peoples may be settled maximally in their own fatherlands. [Interjections.] The CP says the 20 cities of the size of Soweto which have to be built within the next 20 years should all be built in and around the Black national states.
I wish to quote from Skietgoed of October 1979:
I next wish to quote from Hansard, 1982, col 4618. The then Prime Minister, Mr P W Botha, is the speaker again and he says:
He therefore says the NP does not grant independence to territories but to peoples. Through this standpoint based on principle the State President emphasizes the concept of separate freedoms for various peoples. It is the only recipe for peace; it is the only policy which eliminates the domination by one people of another; it is the only policy which guarantees significant self-determination to peoples; it is the policy on which the NP was sent to this Parliament in 1981.
What does the Helderkruin recipe book have to say about powersharing with Black people? It says:
[Interjections.] On pages 10 and 11 the writer, the hon member for Helderkruin, gives reasons why the NP were at fault over all the years in believing that a policy of separate freedoms offered the only solution to the political rights of Black people. The writer says in this booklet that the answer lies in finding a system in which 10 million Black people, 4,5 million Whites, 2,5 million Coloureds and 1 million Asians should receive the vote without one dominating another—one country, one government. He says the answer lies in the fact that separate freedoms apply only to those parts of the Black peoples living within their own father-lands. The rest of those Black peoples, the 10 million approximately, have to find freedom in a common South Africa in which all have political rights.
The NP has told the PFP over the years that such a policy would lead to Black majority government.
It has to!
The PFP says: “It has to!” The CP says to the NP today that it is on the way to a Black majority government even if it is on separate voters’ rolls. [Interjections.] With the acceptance of this principle, it is on the way to a Black majority government even if it is on separate voters’ rolls.
I should like to quote to the hon the Minister and the hon members of the NP from a book by Mr Guy van Eeden with the title Die Vuur Brand Nader. I wish to read certain quotations which they may take as lessons. They run:
Then he says:
His answer is:
I should like to say to the hon the Minister that he and the NP are feeding sacrifices to the crocodile. They are feeding it one concession after the other. I wish to say to the hon the Minister today the crocodile will not be satisfied before it has White South Africa in its jaws. [Interjections.]
I want to say to the hon the Minister today: Tear up this blue booklet. Return to the concept of separate freedoms for which the NP and Mr P W Botha still stood in 1982. I ask them not to apply power-sharing with Black people but to divide South Africa in preference so that the various Black peoples can each have full government over itself and be free in an own fatherland.
I should like to quote to the hon the Minister from the NP’s programme of principles of 1981 in which the NP says:
According to this programme of principles the alternative is integration, conflict and the overwhelming of the White and other minority groups. [Interjections.] The CP resisted a multiracial tricameral parliament but the CP will resist ten thousand times more vigorously if the NP brings the Black people to this Parliament.
The hon member for George says he is not afraid of integration because he can hold his own. I wish to say to him, however, that the rejection of political integration is not the crux of self-preservation because an individual can make a stand. He can remain White but be a slave in the land where he resides. The hon member and I can sit in one of the 26 multiracial standing committees of Parliament every day and still go home as White people and Afrikaners tonight but cannot say at home this evening that we have upheld the wishes and the interests of the White in these multiracial standing committees.
To reach consensus, concessions of interests have to be made as we have seen up to the present in this session of Parliament. Surely that is destruction of self-determination. When one goes home this evening one is still White but one has sacrificed one of one’s own and one’s people’s most precious possessions, namely self-determination. One is still White but one is the slave of consensus decisions.
The abolition of provincial councils as White second-tier government is a very good example. A multiracial coalition Cabinet decided on the abolition. [Interjections.] When legislation is submitted to Parliament, a multiracial standing committee will pronounce and carry out the death sentence on the provincial councils which are a White second-tier government. [Interjections.] I wish to say to that hon young friend of mine that he and I will still be White at the time but the jurisdiction and the executive authority of the Cape Province will be vested in an administrator and a multiracial executive committee.
The composition of Parliament is based on a numerical ratio of 4:2:1 and the NP says this is fair and just. I wish to ask the hon the Minister: Is the composition of these executive committees also to be based on numerical ratios? It will of necessity have to be on a numerical basis in a multiracially composed executive committee according to the NP’s present policy. Why? The NP confesses from platform to platform that it is fair and just and that this Constitution is fair as well.
The NP’s coalition party partners will be satisfied with nothing less than a composition based on numerical proportion. If conflicts occur at this tier of government, the Coloureds in the Cape Province will say: “We are the majority by far and we should have the overriding say.” There are 2,2 million Coloureds in the Cape Province whereas there are 1,2 million Whites—and we are excluding the Blacks. Now I wish to ask the hon the Minister: If the Coloureds say there are 1 million more Coloureds in the Cape Province than there are Whites and they demand that the Administrator of one of the provinces or regions in the Cape Province should be a Coloured, does the State President have the moral right to refuse the appointment of that person? [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I find it a pity but I believe one cannot conduct a debate with the hon member for Kuruman. [Interjections.] I attempted following his argument but he quoted from six different sources. A man unable to state the points his party would propose for the constitutional development of this country and its people has no argument on which one may enter into debate with him. I therefore do not wish to devote more than the past 16 seconds to him.
In preference I wish to turn to what the hon member for Innesdal said yesterday. I wish to say to him I associate myself wholeheartedly with the standpoints he expressed here and wish to extend that spotlight he beamed on certain aspects a little further. He emphasized the problems of overpopulation of a region or a city and its consequences and warned that we should be addressing this problem already, especially in planning our Black towns and cities.
Over the past decades we have learnt dear lessons in Hillbrow, Jeppe and Mayfair which is why I agree with him that it is an aspect to which the Department of Constitutional Development and Planning will have to devote serious attention. Now that we have accepted the permanence of the urban Black and urban Black towns, we should examine their facilities and population density closely to determine whether there is adequate elbow room in those towns and cities or not. If not, I think we should scale down the population density of such towns to enable us to apply sound planning there. This may mean the incorporation of smaller Black towns with existing ones even if they are situated separately from one another. As Whites we have already experienced this in places such as Elsburg and others. It has been done in the past and I think we should give it serious consideration.
I wish to link my argument to the two decisions based on principle recently taken by the Government, namely the permanence of the urban Black man and 99-year leasehold. If we accept urban Blacks as permanent residents, we have to be willing to make sufficient land available for sound community life in the towns and cities where they are living at present and are going to live. The hon member for Innesdal is a 100% in the right in arguing that we should rethink the division of land in those regions and areas. If we accept the Black man as a permanent neighbour, we have to look him straight in the eye and tell him that is why we are going to make provision for him and his descendants for adequate living space in those cities where he now finds himself and where he is going to find himself in future.
For this reason I wish to warn the hon the Minister against a tendency gaining a foothold especially in metropolitan areas and which thwarts the social planning his department has to take into account. There are various city councils on the Witwatersrand busy with grandiose replanning of their business cores. Millions of rand are to be invested in huge shopping complexes with equally large parking areas. Now we find that, when the floor space of the commercial premises is calculated, it is done on an estimated population to be served by such a business core in 20 to 30 years. These city councils are already taking the population and population growth of adjacent Black towns into account and there is deliberate planning to entice these Black people to White business centres as the buying power.
Most of the Black towns to which the Government has granted local government status are located about 15 to 20 kilometres from these business cores I am speaking about. As the more experienced city councils and White developers of business cores are focusing on Black buying power, I think we are going to find the business cores of the Black towns to which I am referring developing at too slow a pace. Because this is going to happen, we will find the sources of income of the Black city councils inadequate which is why I think we should call a halt before going too far with some of our proposals of pilot plans which have already been instituted. Because we have accepted the permanence of the urban Black man, we should look back on what provision we have made in the pilot plans for promoting commercial, industrial and business growth in Black urban areas. At the tempo at which Black cities and towns are being developed, there is insufficient Black capital to develop strong business cores able to compete with White CBDs.
I think Black city councils and Black leaders will have to be persuaded that White capital may be freely invested in their towns and cities. They must be prepared to grow in the free market system as the Afrikaner has grown in it. The Black small businessman does not have the capital to operate on a competitive footing in established White business cores which is why we should prevent his being adversely affected to this extent in his own residential areas. We should establish whether the architects of the pilot plans have made provision for adequate commercial, industrial and trading premises in the Black towns and cities adjacent to these White towns. It will not promote neighbourliness if these Black cities and towns become merely dormitory towns. It will also mean the hon the Minister and his colleague, the hon the Minister of Co-operation, Development and Education, will have to address urban Black leaders on the question of 51% shareholding by Black people in business undertakings in Black residential areas.
A further aspect which deters White investors from investing in Black residential areas is the security risk. The only way to encourage Whites to be able to make purposeful investment in Black business cores will perhaps be to establish such business cores on the boundaries between Black and White towns. The sources of income of those Black business cores, however, should be able to be channelled to the adjacent Black towns.
This tendency is very clear on the Witwatersrand and should definitely give rise to a serious investigation; otherwise Black communities will be subject for decades to the suction of neighbouring White business cores. Black city councils will have to be convinced that their smaller business undertakings will be able to make a living only if powerful companies erect buildings in which the Black small businessman can establish his undertaking. I think that to pursue this train of thought will lead to our being able to curb inflation to a great extent. On looking at the products on offer in South Africa today, one finds that a large element of the price of the product sold over the counter is taken up by high rentals which the owner of the shop has to pay the owner of the building. The building is usually the property of a powerful grocery group or an insurance company. We as Whites have already experienced for decades that grocery chain groups have the financial power to do serious financial damage to other business undertakings in existence in our towns for years if they take certain actions. An example of this is groups selling fuel to the public which can result in other filling stations in the neighbourhood being adversely affected. We cannot expect trade to grow in Black towns if we do not start limiting the size of business centres in White areas. I am not appealing for us to give the White an opportunity of investing his capital; I am appealing that we give him an opportunity to invest his capital in Black residential areas. We should be prepared to link 99-year leasehold and permanence to comparable business cores but then Black authorities and leaders will have to relinquish that 51% shareholding on which they insist.
A further aspect to be addressed immediately is the large number of hostel inmates in urban areas. I raised the matter in the Second Reading debate and in the discussion of the Transport Vote. We know what undesirable social problems are experienced in Hill-brow. Each community in this country requires open spaces, parks and resorts for sport and recreation in which people can relax with their children. If we cannot provide these, we are sending those children to the streets. When parents send their children to the streets, they grow up as tsotsis, “skollies” or something like that. [Interjections.] Those groups expand and degenerate into street gangs which become the henchmen of revolutionary forces. That is why I request that we should address this matter. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, on this 40th anniversary of VE Day the hon member for Boksburg will forgive me if I do not reply to him because I want to deal with another division of the hon the Minister’s portfolio, namely statistics.
There are three major sources of statistics in South Africa, namely Central Statistical Services, the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing, and the Reserve Bank. I should like to deal first with statistics provided by the Central Statistical Services. I should like to list the following specific shortcomings in the quarterly Bulletin of Statistics. Firstly, this publication is currently about three months later than usual. Secondly, the weights used by the department in compiling the monthly consumer price index are now considerably out of date. There has been a good deal of criticism about this. The department recently brought forward the base year of this index from 1975 to 1980, which is no real improvement. In view of their crucial importance, especially in assessing the rate of inflation of the consumer price index in our national economic life, I strongly recommend that the weights and the base of the index be brought forward to 1985 as a matter of extreme urgency.
Thirdly, while monthly figures show changes in stock levels in trade, those in manufacturing industry and agriculture are still not available. This information is essential for purposes of economic forecasting, as changes in stock levels are one of the most important influences governing the course of the general business cycle.
Fourthly, an up-to-date input and output table for the South African economy is still not available. This information is necessary as an indication of structural changes in the economy. Fifthly, the most serious weakness in the department’s statistics is the calculation of realistic unemployment figures, particularly for Blacks. It is highly dangerous that no serious effort is made to keep all the figures for employment, unemployment and salaries and wages paid more up to date, especially with regard to Blacks. They provide Black unemployment figures that have no credibility whatsoever both at home and abroad. Who are we trying to bluff in these times of violence and unrest? The truth will make responsible solutions possible.
I also want to refer to statistics provided by the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing publishes statistics on agricultural activity. I should like to draw attention to the following: As far as crops and markets are concerned, the computer print-outs made available by the directorate show total monthly incomes, quantities supplied and average price per ton for 14 different produce markets. The figures supplied are, however, considerably out of date, while the only monthly data available does not reflect trends within that month. The figures also do not provide for grade differences of the produce offered to and sold on the various markets, for example Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth etc.
Estimates of the value of the various agricultural products produced in South Africa are considerably out of date. Figures subsequent to 1977 are still preliminary. Values are also published in the form of indices which are meaningless for the purpose of arriving at current values. Base values should accordingly be provided for at least 1975, or preferably a more recent past year in order to make the statistics more usable. Production indices for agricultural output as a whole and for the main sectors of agriculture should also be provided on a monthly basis and released regularly to the Press for the purposes of allowing private sector economists to forecast GDP growth in the economy.
I should like to deal now with the statistics provided by the South African Reserve Bank. We on these benches, namely the PFP in Opposition, feel that the South African Reserve Bank and its staff of economists deserve special praise for the very high quality of the statistical analysis and presentation that they maintain in the bank’s Quarterly Bulletin and for the constant extension of the scope of the statistics that they cover.
Firstly, the value of the Quarterly Bulletin is also considerably enhanced by the special research articles of quality and scholarship which the bank’s economic research staff contribute from time to time on particular topics. The special article contributed by Messrs B L de Jager and M M Smal in the December 1984 edition of the bulletin on the subject of “The potential gross domestic product of South Africa” is a recent example in this respect. Articles of this calibre deserve wider publicity, and the banks should, therefore, release appropriate summaries of these articles to the financial Press simultaneously with their appearance in the bulletin.
Secondly, the following stated additions and changes would still further enhance the value of the Quarterly Bulletin: Firstly, while leading, coinciding and lagging indicators of the general level of economic activity are now published in the Reserve Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin, these indices are normally two to three months out of date because of the quarterly publication of the bulletin. We feel that the value of these indicators would be considerably enhanced if the figures could be published monthly instead of quarterly ahead of the bulletin by means of Press releases, or in one or other of the monthly statistical releases of the Reserve Bank.
As far as the balance of payments calculations are concerned, in relation to foreign capital movements it would be more meaningful if foreign capital movements attributed to the central Government can be shown separately from those attributed to the private sector. At present, short-term private capital flows are also lumped together with unrecorded transactions, ie errors and omissions. These two categories should also be shown separately.
Secondly, as far as South Africa’s foreign liabilities are concerned, in the case of the table for South Africa’s foreign liabilities, if we wish to continue to attract foreign investment in South Africa it is essential that foreign banks and foreign investors have more detailed and more up-to-date information on foreign investment in South Africa. It is felt that this particular table of figures can be made more useful and informative by keeping the information more up to date because our statistics are currently a year out of date. Surely we can provide a more detailed breakdown, by country of origin of the foreign investment, by separating the banking sector and central Government foreign liabilities and also by showing separately the foreign investment in shares of quoted companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the breakdown of the private sector foreign investment in South Africa.
Thirdly, in regard to calculations of the gross domestic product, in the first instance the “residual item” in the calculation of the gross domestic expenditure is getting constantly bigger and is causing a significant distortion of the entire calculation of the GDP. Every effort should be made to reduce the size of this item in the GDP calculation.
In the second instance it would be helpful if the Reserve Bank could publish, even if by way of a footnote, a reconciliation of the figures for exports and imports of goods and non-factor services in the GDP calculation and the relevant corresponding figures in the calculation for the current account of the balance of payments. It would also be most informative if the Reserve Bank could publish some kind of reconciliation between the figures for the gross domestic product and the gross national product to show how and in what categories of expenditure changes in the gold price affect the value of the gross domestic product. This is very important.
Furthermore, figures for South Africa’s net gold and foreign exchange reserves are still not shown in the Quarterly Bulletin. There is also no explanation on the Reserve Bank’s monthly statement of assets and liabilities in connection with the changes in the items “other assets” and “other liabilities”.
I feel that the Reserve Bank should be able to bring about the foregoing suggested amendments and additions without any great effort or cost. In this way it can still further enhance the value of the Quarterly Bulletin as possibly the main source of reliable and informative information on the South African economic scene,
Mr Chairman, I am convinced that the hon the Minister himself will react to the speech by the hon member for Bezuidenhout. I want to use the time at my disposal to reply to the speeches by certain other hon members.
In the first place then, I turn to the hon member for Green Point, who discussed the granting of permits as well as conditions for permits in terms of section 21 of the Group Areas Act. In considering applications for permits, various factors are taken into consideration. There is also, inter alia, the comprehensive analysis of the community concerned, as well as the existing need for facilities.
The hon member discussed the town halls of Sea Point and Muizenberg where, he says, such applications were rejected. I want to assure him that these factors were taken into consideration and that it was for that very reason that those town halls were not opened. Had it, however, been a question of certain facilities not offered in the relevant community itself, it is still always possible to apply for such a permit, even though the necessary facilities do exist.
The hon member for Green Point went on to discuss the Three Arts Theatre, the application in respect of which was also rejected. In this case, too, I can assure the hon member that we carried out a very thorough investigation, and that adequate cinema and theatre facilities do exist for use by the population group concerned. In view of the present economic conditions we are convinced that to issue that permit, too, at this stage would endanger the other cinemas there, which are operating in extremely difficult circumstances.
As far as conditions for permits are concerned, I wish to point out to the hon member that these are reviewed from time to time. Depending on the circumstances at a particular point in time, and taking into consideration the particular surroundings, a decision is made. If certain conditions of the permit are unacceptable, withdrawal can be considered on application. Evidently, however, the Cape Town City Council is satisfied that there will now be no mixed dancing and mixed skating, because we have thus far received no application of this nature from them.
The hon member for Bloemfontein North made a very important observation when he said that the population growth was assuming alarming proportions, and that people had a responsibility to limit the size of their families. Now, it may interest hon members to take cognizance of the latest population projections with reference to certain population groups in the Republic of South Africa. The following figures relate to the Republic of South Africa and the self-governing national states. The figures used as a basis in these projections are the census figures for 1985—the figures from the census held on 5 March this year.
According to the 1985 census, there were 27 622 000 people in the Republic of South Africa and, at the present growth rate, this number will increase—and I am now using round figures—to 39,5 million in 2000, to 64 million in 2020 and to 137 million in 2050.
Of the various Black population groups, it is interesting to note that according to the 1985 census, the South Sotho—this is the group in which the hon member for Bloemfontein North is probably most interested—numbered altogether 2 million people, and at the present growth rate that number will increase to 3 million in 2000, to 5,3 million in 2020 and to 12 million in 2050.
The largest population group is the Zulus with 6,6 million people according to the 1985 census. At present growth rates they will increase to 9,9 million in the year 2000, to 17,3 million in the year 2020 and to 39,7 million in the year 2050. Hon members will agree with me that these figures are alarming. The Government has already implemented the population development programme and the community development strategy to improve the overall quality of life of people, and our hope is that the programme will also have a positive effect on these high growth rates and that we will not, one hopes, be landed with large numbers such as those I mentioned here, as indicated by the projections. The Government is in earnest about improving people’s quality of life and, I believe, in so doing, suppressing the growth rate of the population and keeping it within the bounds and capabilities of the country.
The hon member for Pretoria East referred to the proceedings of the Committee for Conditions of Service of Scientific Councils. As envisaged in the annual report, considerable progress has been made with a general amending Bill to amend the Acts of the five scientific councils concerned, namely the Council for Mineral Technology or Mintek, the Medical Research Council, the Human Sciences Research Council or HSRC, the Bureau of Standards and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, with a view to the aims reflected in the annual report. The hon member will understand that the matter involves extremely intensive negotiations because, the ideal is, on the one hand, a reconciliation of autonomy and optimum freedom of management of the councils, and on the other, the reasonable need for co-ordination of matters relating to establishment and conditions of service in the broad Government sector. We are engaged in these negotiations at present and I want to tell the hon member for Pretoria East that we hope this amending Bill will be ready later this year to be dealt with during the next session of Parliament.
The hon member for Greytown discussed planning yesterday. It is striking that the simple and naïve idea the hon member for Greytown has of complex planning considerations is completely incomprehensible. His simplistic view of restrictions on planning, for example, indicates that he does not have the vaguest idea about the planning process. After all, planning is not an end in itself, only a particular way to achieve an objective. This sort of action takes place everywhere, and always within a given framework, be it economic, social or even political.
The hon member has now asked for the abolition of section 3 of the Physical Planning Act. In 1981 the then Prime Minister had already indicated that this was the intention. I want to tell the hon member that the indirect measures stipulated as a condition will be introduced shortly and the Bill for the repeal of section 3 is at present being considered. The hon member, however, also asked for the abolition of section 5 and section 7 of the same Act. Now I suspect …
No, I was talking about section 3(5)(c), not sections 3, 5 and 7.
If the hon member meant sections 5 and 7, I want to say that he might have seen in those sections the words “controlled area”. I merely want to confirm to the hon member that from sections 5 and 7—now the hon member is also getting a lesson …
I do not need it.
… in planning. [Interjections.]
Surely the hon member for Kuruman has nothing to do with this; he is welcome to continue with his work.
I want to tell the hon member for Greytown that the whole country is a controlled area as far as the utilization of land is concerned. This control is the foundation of our country’s sound and correct surface development. To top it all—I hope I heard the hon member correctly in this regard—he also pleaded that the control of commercial activities on the borders of the national states be extended to urban centres in the Republic of South Africa, such as Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
We really cannot take up too much time. I want the hon member to do his homework because he will then discover that no such restriction is imposed on urban centres in the Republic of South Africa.
My time has expired and I must conclude. I want to tell the hon member for Sundays River—he talked about the draft ordinance—that he has our total support. This is in the forefront of thinking on urban planning. It not only recognizes section 6A(13) of the Physical Planning Act in respect of follow-up detail plans for guide plans, but is also the first statutory effort to implement the recommendations of the Venter Commission in respect of a hierarchy of plans and urban planning schemes as control mechanisms.
I want to tell the hon member that the development of the division of functions in respect of own affairs, the provincial system and the regional services councils will now furnish guidelines for the implementation.
Mr Chairman, I should like to concentrate on the draft guide plan with specific reference to the far East Rand. I want to thank the hon the Minister for the letters he addressed to the hon member for Brakpan and me, and for the guide plan he sent to us because he knew that we were interested in it. We received it and we thank him for it. It is dated 9 August 1984.
Immediately after we received it, we studied it. The hon member for Brakpan, Mr Jannie van Eeden, MPC, Mr Carel Schoe-man, MPC, and I wrote a comprehensive letter to the hon the Minister and addressed representations to him.
In our representations we highlighted clearly where we agreed and where we could not agree. We believe that what we cannot agree with, would be very detrimental to the East Rand. As I have only a few minutes to state my case, I am going to confine myself to the most important objections that we, as well as the Nigel Town Council, highlighted.
Regarding the extension of the Black townships, we cannot associate ourselves at all with the ideas expressed on page 159, and in the last paragraph on page 179. I quote from the draft report to indicate how it mainly affects our constituencies. I quote from page 159:
As far as “tot ’n lewensvatbare eenheid” is concerned, we have no objection, but what we do seriously object to is the tremendous expansion indicated in the guide plan.
Exactly what are you objecting to?
To the expansion of the proposed Black complex, but I shall deal with that in detail shortly.
As far as page 179 is concerned, I quote the following extract:
When the reality is taken into account that two thirds of the area forms part of the five per cent of the best agricultural land in the Republic, it is inconceivable that a further 2 450 ha of land would be necessary to accommodate the expected population in the proposed Black residential areas. Apart from this basic argument, I should also like to highlight the following: Is it not time to think of expanding vertically rather than always horizontally, since land is becoming increasingly scarce? Establishing a broad belt of two additional Sowetos to the south of the East Rand, as envisaged on page 159, will seriously prejudice the sense of security of the Whites and a priority strategic area will be Africanized. I have been informed that even the leading figures in the various residential areas, mentioned on page 159 of the draft guide plan, are unhappy that they are to merge into a conjoint area, and will lose their individual identities. By the implementation of the draft guide plan, with reference to the expansion of Black residential areas; Nigel and Dunnottar will be isolated to a serious extent from the rest of the Witwatersrand. In fact, the Black residential area of Duduza will eventually extend into Dunnottar and Sharon Park and this development will have an extremely adverse effect on the value of property in Nigel and particularly in Dunnottar and Sharon Park. The PWV 16 highway which is to be built between Nigel and Johannesburg will also be jeopardized as a result.
The Nigel Town Council, in its commentary, made remarks that I want to refer to briefly. For the most part they are in agreement with what has been said in this connection. One of the unanimous decisions by the town council is the following:
They go on to say:
They then say:
The unemployment being experienced there at the moment exists among all population groups. It affects the Blacks, its affects the Coloureds, it affects the Whites. In this connection I should like to refer to water, which is an important commodity. During the discussion of the no-confidence motion, the State President said the following (Hansard: Assembly, 1985, col 324):
We can do many things today, but we cannot manufacture water economically. When thinking of the proposed Soweto’s, we wonder where the water for all the people is going to come from. A few dry years could cause serious problems in that area.
We then come to the issue of unemployment. According to the Nigel Town Council, problems regarding unemployment are already being experienced. As I said, this applies to all races. When the East Rand representatives met in Springs on 14 January of this year, I doubted whether there would ever be job opportunities for the people of all those prospective Black townships. A very clever representative of Co-operation and Development then said that there was indeed work. I know, however, that that Department is empire-building, and that they do not care two hoots about the Whites in that area.
Duduza and Tsakane are two of our most restless Black townships. This morning we again heard about the problems in Tsakane, where people are being set alight by their own people. Unemployment means that the agitator’s work is becoming increasingly easy. Afterall, we know that. Why must we continually struggle with a difficult problem on the East Rand? Surely this cannot be good for anyone!
As far as Dunnottar and Sharon Park are concerned, I wonder whether hon members know what flagrant injustice will take place in those townships if this guide plan goes through as it stands. Two of the prettiest townships on the whole East Rand will be ruined. Millions of rand have been invested in these townships by people who thought that they would spend their old age there. Others have started very progressive businesses there. The value of people’s valuable properties will slump heavily, in any case infinitely lower than the replacement value. The whole nature and character of the East Rand will be adversely affected. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I should like to begin by making two announcements. The first is that the Government has decided to appoint the hon Louis Botha, the Administrator of the Free State, for a further term when his present term expires. I should like to place on record my appreciation of the fact that the Administrator is available to fill this post in the transitional stage from one system to another.
The second announcement I want to make relates to a debate conducted here in respect of the filling of vacancies which may arise in the provincial councils between now and the expiry of the terms of MPCs, as I indicated. It would seem to me that hon members of the Opposition parties feel it would be better if we did not fill those vacancies, and in the light of this debate I am prepared to submit an amendment in this specific regard which will make provision for the non-filling of any vacancies which may occur in the interim.
The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition again adopted certain standpoints and levelled criticism in respect of the envisaged provincial system, which I want to deal with very briefly since I should prefer to conclude this debate with certain general statements. In essence the criticism of the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition in this specific connection was twofold. Firstly his criticism was that the announcement created uncertainties, and secondly that to him it appeared to be a centralization of power. I do not think there ought to be any uncertainty about the future system itself as far as its structure is concerned. There is clarity on the future system of executive committees. In addition there is certainty about the question of provincial advisory councils. There is also certainty about how the administration will be dealt with, and also about the announcement that there will be political representatives in respect of own affairs at decentralized points. What there is no certainty about is the question of the composition of the provincial advisory councils. The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition will once again concede that, in the spirit of the general approach, we should rather conduct negotiations before we formulate structures on our own, and do so in a prescriptive way. Consequently it would be better if I first completed the negotiations in this specific connection.
In respect of the criticism that it would entail centralization of power, I want to point out at once that the hon member for Mossel Bay, who is not in his seat at the moment, replied rather fully to this specific point. I just want to say this very briefly: The Governmental authority on the second tier manifested itself, if I may put it that way, in three main activities. Firstly the administrative, secondly the legislative and thirdly the executive. What is being materially affected now in terms of the new structures relates to the legislative aspect. That is why I should like to begin with this.
I want to point out that the legislative powers of Parliament in respect of the second or provincial tier have always existed. Parliament, as legislature, has constantly adopted legislation here which had an effect on the legislative powers of the provinces. This has not only been the case since 1948, but prior to that as well. The object was to create the regulating process and in all fairness to formulate a national policy and adapt it to that process. Therefore there can be no question here of new or greater powers which are to be conferred upon Parliament as legislative authority after the system in its present form is terminated.
Secondly the hon member will know that it is a well-known fact and indeed an existing statutory requirement that provincial ordinances may not be inconsistent with laws of Parliament. The “original”—I am putting this in quotation marks—inherent legislative powers which provincial councils had, or allegedly had, they derived from the definition of such powers in the 1910 Constitution. Since then, however, the situation has changed drastically. The powers in this specific connection are no longer governed by the Constitution, but by the Provincial Government Act, 1961, and that in itself was merely a Act which superseded one that had existed previously; I think it dated as far back as 1945.
Secondly, a series of parliamentary laws have in the meantime limited the scope of ordinances by prescribing all kinds of policy directives on a national level, with which the ordinances had to comply. Consequently I am merely trying to make the point that this is not a significant taking away of powers from the one level of authority and giving them to another, which still has to take place by means of legislation. What is important here is that the subjects over which the provinces have always exercised legislative powers, entailed in any case that they had to agree interdepartmentally as provinces on technical committees to make the legislation as identical as possible. Thus the legislation on road traffic owes its existence in all the provinces to the Technical Committee on Road Traffic. And thus there is legislation regulating the provinces’ control of education. I do not want to go into any further details.
The upshot of all this was, in all fairness, that over the years the legislative role of the provincial councils became totally subordinated to their executive role and their administrative responsibilities. What is finally valid now in this connection is that the Government believes that in respect of this important function of second-tier government there should be a strengthened system of executive committees—we may not perhaps all agree on how it should be composed—and that on the second level it should exercise greater powers and that it should also have policy-making powers on the specific regional levels or provincial level. As far as possible only policy-making decisions which are of national importance for all the provinces shall be taken on the central level.
We hope in fact that the own identity, if I may call it that, which is historically interwoven into the development process of the system in the various provinces will in future be able to continue to function smoothly.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister a question?
Just a moment please. I should just like to finish this and then if there is time I shall reply to your question.
*I am pleased that the hon member for Randburg raised the important issue of regional liaison on the various levels and on various subjects. The principle of liaison and mutual consultation forms a cornerstone of the Government’s planning and development initiatives, as is clearly apparent, too, from the guidelines announced by the State President in respect of the constitutional development of the Black people.
The emphasis placed by the hon member for Johannesburg West on the important principle that peace could only be established through the socio-economic upliftment of all the population groups, in other words peace through satisfaction, was closely related to the Government’s overall objective of enhancing the quality of life of all the inhabitants of the Republic.
The hon member for Barberton raised matters which I should like to deal with in a moment, if I get a chance to do so. He said that the NP, as regards its policy on the Black communities, had deviated fundamentally from its previous policy that the Black communities should exercise the totality of their political participation within the national and independent states. I should at once like to refresh the hon member’s memory. The acceptance of the permanence of the Black communities outside independent and national states back as far as 1945. In his entire career as member of the governing party—which was the NP—the hon member for Barberton, never did anything to change that legislation.
The fact that the NP accepted that Black communities could not realize themselves to the full within the political system of national states and independent states, was not the find of the decade, in fact the hon member supported it enthusiastically. He served under a leader who said that governmental institutions had to be established for the Blacks in urban areas, institutions of which the responsibilities and powers could be greater than the major city councils of Johannesburg or Cape Town. The hon member was then part of the process of the recognition of new circumstances which required new policy decisions. I now want to tell the hon member—he can differ with me if he wishes—that the success of a political party is determined by its ability to assess the circumstances in which it is governing and to take steps according to those circumstances. If this implies that changes in policy must be effected, it is an inevitable consequence of the interpretation of the circumstances.
In this respect I do not stand alone. Surely the hon member knows that his leader and deputy leader sitting here, were in charge of investigations into the lack of links between Black communities and national states and their governments, and that they made proposals on how the problem could be resolved. That is why I charge the hon member, who is a reasonable debater, with recklessly forgetting certain facts. The hon member has asked me—and this is the last point I want to deal with as far as his speech is concerned—questions about executive co-operation between the institutions for Black urban communities and the Republic. Surely there is nothing strange about general co-operation between executive authorities. Surely the hon member knows that there is an interstate or a multilateral council of Ministers in which the independent states have representation and surely this is an umbrella institution in which the executive authorities deliberate on matters of common interest and take decisions by way of consensus. The hon member must give me a chance now and not shake his head. He knows that in respect of the governments of the self-governing states which are not yet independent, parallel systems are being developed in which the executive authorities of those states and of this country will be able to co-operate in connection with matters of common interest. I am not prepared to define the final structure, for then I would be guilty of being prescriptive, and I am not prepared to do that.
My colleague, the hon the Deputy Minister, has already replied to the hon member for Bloemfontein North. I want to thank him sincerely for his kind remarks.
The hon member for Roodeplaat referred to the position of the Chinese sector of our population. I just want to state here that there is an interdepartmental committee which is giving urgent attention to the position of these communities, and I hope that we will have clarity in this regard soon. [Interjections.] No, wait a minute, the hon member must not ask me such nonsensical questions; I have been in politics longer than he has. [Interjections.]
The hon member Mr Theunissen made a great many interesting statements. He said in the first place that I was a leftist liberal. I want to say at once that to stand to the left of him is truly no achievement. [Interjections.] To get to the right of him requires a far smaller living creature than any person is, and I should not like to describe it. What did the hon member do besides that? He said I had made a scandalous remark by saying that there was no White South Africa.
You said so.
Naturally, but the hon member must not reproach me for doing so. I am not the creator of Whites, Blacks, Coloureds and Asiatics. What is interesting is that the hon member even went on—after he had accused me of making a scandalous remark about a non-White South Africa—to say “in this multinational South Africa of ours”. [Interjections.] I just want to know how the hon member is able to reconcile these two statements. He accuses me of being scandalous when I state the facts, and then he goes on to say that we should deal with this multinational South Africa. [Interjections.] After all, that is what I am doing now. I am dealing with the multinational South Africa. [Interjections.] Then the hon member went even further.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon the Minister?
No, I did not interrupt the hon member. However, I now want to quote to him from his own speech. The hon member was quoting from the report of my department. Do hon members know what he said? He then said:
That is a lie. There is nothing of the kind in that report, nothing! All I want to ask of the hon member now is whether it is necessary, if he wishes to attack the legitimacy and the credibility of the system, to try to substantiate this attack with a quotation which is not contained in the report. I shall not take it any further. The hon member will have to judge for himself. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Innesdal and the hon member for Boksburg made very interesting speeches on land for Black communities. I want to emphasize in particular that I have great appreciation for the spirit and the terminology in which the hon members spoke. It represents a part of our reality, namely that all of us accept the permanence of the presence of Black communities outside the national and independent States. Because this is so, provision has to be made for their participation in the economic sphere. Provision must also be made for their political participation. Provision must also be made for their social lives. That is why we shall give attention to the problems, as we are in fact doing with the guide plans.
I want to say though—and now I want to associate myself with the hon member for Nigel—that we must also bear in mind that the amount of land does not increase. That is the one thing that does not increase. That is why we must ensure, for residential purposes—in respect of all population groups—that our land is able to bear the highest measure of density. This also means the vertical and not merely the horizontal utilization of land. I vant to give hon members the assurance that it is our earnest intention to give attention to this matter.
I also want to tell the hon member for Boksburg that I agree that as regards the areas of jurisdiction of Black, Coloured and Asiatic communities, we cannot make only residential areas the areas of their jurisdiction. There are good reasons why industrial areas and adequate commercial areas will have to be included in their areas of jurisdiction so that they may also have access to additional income funds to enable them to make a success of the institutions themselves.
Yesterday the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition referred to a statement at the bottom of page 10 of the NP publication … and what about the Black people? The gist of this statement was that all permanent inhabitants of the Republic would have the franchise. He said that he and his party and my party were in agreement with one another in that regard.
The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition did in fact quote that paragraph correctly, but he did not correlate it fully with, or in the context of, the remainder of the publication. The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition will concede that I have reason to impute this to him. The prase which the Leader of the official Opposition focused on was:
The hon the Leader then argued that the franchise would be exercised in a single structure. That is not stated in the publication.
An umbrella structure.
No, we are first discussing a single structure. Just allow me to complete my argument.
According to the hon the Leader this will then lead to Black people, owing to their numbers and demographic distribution, acquiring a dominating position in such a system.
They will then be in the majority.
But surely they then acquire a dominating position.
However, the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition did not correlate this statement fully. I do not want to quarrel with him on this score; I just want to place the true facts on record. He overlooked an important, specific qualification for such franchise, which reads as follows:
It is this qualification which has an important effect on the interpretation on what the hon member for Helderkruin said. I think the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition will concede that he cannot now argue that the granting of franchise to all the permanent inhabitants in the country will lead to one group dominating the others, while the Government’s standpoint is precisely the opposite. Surely he will understand this, and I shall leave it at that now.
†I should like to conclude by making certain general statements. I should like to point out that the atmosphere that permeated the discussion of this Vote augurs well for the future. If I have to look back and call to mind the emotional debates we have conducted in this House, I believe that one outstanding feature of our discussions has been an understanding of the seriousness of the conditions in South Africa.
The State President, when he was Prime Minister, at one stage called on South Africa, and in particular on White South Africans, to adapt or die in order to retain the right to rule in a changing world.
The removal of White power was not contemplated their and neither is it now; only the meaningful division of power guaranteeing the protection of minority rights and self-determination in as many spheres as possible. I believe that one of the lessons that we have learnt from recent political developments in Africa, and in Southern Africa in particular, is that a White power monopoly has become untenable in Africa and in Southern Africa.
The South African stance in this regard is not one of insensitivity to the realities of the new and essentially hostile Africa. It is realized by the Government that the colonial White southern bastion no longer exists, that the colonial wars in Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are over and won, not on the battlefields but in the political chambers there and in the world. I think it has been finally realized, also by African states, that Soviet imperialism represents a grave threat to all pro-Western, pro-capitalist and pro-Christian governments in Southern Africa. These, I submit, are all challenges that South Africa will have to face.
The response of the Botha Government to these challenges is reflected to a large extent in its national strategy which I believe is a unique plan in the sense that it addresses itself to domestic, regional and international issues simultaneously. I believe it also underscores—I would like to stress this—the fact that reforms made timeously and from a position of strength are durable and meaningful.
This is the reason why the Government cannot tolerate the destabilization of society and polity through civil disobedience, unrest and agitation. I believe these sentiments will be shared by all hon members of this House because stability is a necessity when a society is in a process of transformation. It is also true that when a society is in the process of transformation it is unavoidable that tensions will arise. There are fears among White, Coloured and Indian people. On the other hand we have to deal with a spiral of growing expectations in other communities.
I believe it is this volatility of society that creates opportunities for agitators—White and Black—to exploit grievances and unfulfilled expectations. Let me say immediately that there are conditions obtaining in areas which lend themselves to exploitation. I do not wish to deny that fact. This Government will never go back on its responsibility to maintain law and order. This is a commitment that must not be construed as more repression or greater control. It is simply, I believe, our answer to confrontationist politics and to those who obstruct reformist initiatives. Someone once said that reforms were dangerous, but experience has taught us that no reforms are worse.
In conclusion I should like to make a few observations in the belief that the general acceptance of what I am going to say can hold the key to peace in our fatherland.
Hansard will reveal that during the no-confidence debate I made the following points which I believe are relevant to the discussion of my vote. Firstly, I said that if there was one matter which the Government did not underestimate, it was the dire need to devise and establish constitutional structures to broaden the democratic base of the political system in South Africa so as to provide for the broadening of participation in the process of political decision-making. I believe that is the objective we all share with one another.
Secondly, I said it was probably common cause between the Government and the Official Opposition that the population structure of the South African society was such that we were compelled to realize the ideal of a democratic system in our country in a novel and, as yet, only partly defined fashion, which might eventually bear little resemblance to the political systems in homogeneous Western societies. I believe that in this respect we will have to give the lie to the often expressed assertion that the realization of the democratic ideal in our country is a venture which is so complex that many believe it to be unattainable. I do not share that belief.
There are many things that have occurred in our country for which we need to seek forgiveness. There are also instances in which we have to grant forgiveness.
I conclude by making an appeal to the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition and to all hon members of this House to assist us in our efforts to devise a democratic solution tailored to the circumstances and the needs of our fatherland. Subsequently, Sir, the State President extended a formal invitation in this regard, and it is gratifying to be able to say that at least the hon leaders of two of the opposition parties in this House have accepted that invitation.
If we declare that we are committed to the democratic ideal, there are certain truths which, I believe, we need to subscribe to, certain truths the validity of which we have to convey to others, both in this House and outside.
*Mr Chairman, a durable peace can never be the product of violence, since the process of physical subjugation is an incompletable process; a never-ending process. Apart from this being a factually correct observation, such a process would contradict the fundamental values which the Government endorses, as well as the national objectives contained in the Constitution of our country.
Since the democratic ideal can only be attained by way of honest and non-prescriptive negotiations, it is essential that a climate be created in which such negotiations can take place in a spirit of mutual trust, openheartedness and of a commitment to peaceful coexistence. I thank the hon member for East London City for his contribution in this respect.
The physical combating of violence directed at the state structure which has committed itself to reforms, must of necessity accompany the negotiating process, part of the object of which is the elimination of factors that are exploitable by those who take, or wish to take refuge in violence as a means of articulating their political interests.
For the sake of the interests of this country and of all its people I would be grateful if it were in future to be accepted from this Government that our reform initiatives are not the result of fear or of weakness; and similarly that they do not testify to a concession to foreign pressure and dictates. In fact, only a strong man is prepared to participate in this process. [Interjections.] I hope it will be accepted that what it amounts to is not that we are giving in to the international standpoint, for nothing whatsoever that we do in South Africa will ever satisfy the international standpoint.
The Government has committed itself to reforms aimed at the complete democratization of South African society, because it believes unshakeably that this can offer the only just solution to South Africa’s problems; because it believes that this can offer the only fair solution, it also believes that this can offer the only lasting solution. Every allegation to the contrary is a lie which will cost South Africa dear because it fuels the fire of those who believe that violence, or a policy which must inevitably lead to violence, can lead to a solution to our problems.
The Government has chosen the path of an honourable peace. It has chosen the path of democratic solutions.
Dishonourable capitulation, yes.
There is one thing I want to emphasize today. The time has finally arrived for South Africa in which the actors on the political scene in our country have to make a choice between violence and peace—a choice between the democratic ideal and the politics of oppression. This is a choice we will now have to take once and for all.
I want to address those who still doubt the honest intentions of this Government and who cast suspicion on our efforts, and tell them that this country has during the past few years, according to every criterion and in every sphere of life, experienced more reforms aimed at the realization of the fundamental rights of people and the democratization of our society than it has during the preceding 70 years. No one can deny that. Our critics inside and outside Parliament referred to the fact, and are still doing so today, that Parliament as constituted at present, is the manifestation of the exclusion of Black communities from the democratic process. It is something entirely different. It produces proof of the ability of the Government and others to make progress towards reform by furthering negotiations. It may be an incomplete or incompleted process, but it has already produced tangible results which at least ensure a larger democratic framework or base for our country.
As it was possible to involve the two other population groups represented in this Parliament as a result of negotiation in the process of reform, I maintain today that it is possible to involve Black communities in an equivalent way by means of the same method. The question is not whether the structures are going to be the same; the question is whether they are going to be democratic and not inferior. Whether we can achieve this is another matter, but the fact remains that we have the will and ability to do this. This implies that we cannot allow ourselves to be led along a path of imaginary fatherlands which do not exist, and that we cannot allow ourselves to be led along a path of imaginary unitary state systems which have no viability.
†The Department of Constitutional Development and Planning is a very recently established instrument of executive government. I ask to be allowed to pay tribute to this department and to the dedicated officials who serve it for their capacity to assist the Government in bringing its reform initiatives to fruition. They are not only playing a very important primary role, but they are also rendering indispensable supporting services not to the department but to the country. I should like to place that on record.
If one looks at the South African society of today and one compares it with what it looked like a few years ago, and if one takes into consideration the very important recent announcements of the State President which—and I should like to emphasize this—were the direct result of the process of negotiation, and also the announcements that will be forthcoming in the near future, one has to admit and is constrained to concede that the present Government, warts and all, mean business when they speak of peaceful, evolutionary reform.
The time has come for those who believe in negotiation as opposed to destruction, who believe in democracy as opposed to anarchy and violence and who believe in fairness and justice as opposed to arbitary dictatorial rule, to stand up and be counted among the number of all reasonable men. South Africa needs this. Only through the alliance of reasonable men and only through their collective efforts can we save this country for democracy and from the powers of destruction.
Party political differences are important, but I believe that they need not be insurmountable obstacles to what we have to achieve. I believe that they have become luxuries which we can ill afford. To those who have not yet come forward I say: Look around you at the visible signs of the Government’s bona fides and join us in the process of and in the institutions for negotiation.
I want hon members of this House to know that I believe that this House has a duty to speak to the people outside this House so that they too shall know that there can be no peace without law and law enforcement. It is also true, however, that peace is more than the absence of violence. I want to repeat myself: Peace is more than the absence of violence. It is a condition of mind characterized by respect for human beings and their inherent worth.
I pray the God of peace that we may find within us the conviction, courage, honesty and love to make the condition of peace the hallmark of our society. The vehicle, I believe, has been created by the announcement of the State President. I believe that very often the process of negotiation can be more important than the results it eventually achieves.
My colleagues will understand what I am trying to say, and therefore they will know that the announcements mark the beginning of a process of reform. I believe that in sensitive situations like ours the beginning of this process is very important. The process has been set in motion. Significant contact with leaders has already been established. It cannot be denied that the Government has initiated constructive political dialogue among the various communities of our country.
*I once spoke to a wise leader in the Black community, and he gave me some good advice. He told me: “You have the watch; we have the time. Parliament must use its time. [Interjections.]
Order! In the course of his speech the hon the Minister referred to something which the hon member Mr Theunissen had said. The hon the Minister said it was a lie. Would the hon the Minister explain to me whether he meant by that that the hon member Mr Theunissen had deliberately told a lie?
Sir, I did not mean it that way, nor did I say that.
Vote agreed to.
Business suspended at 17h30 and resumed at 20h00.
Vote No 17—“Manpower”:
The Government and the department are thoroughly aware of the growing unemployment problem and are concerned about the personal privations the unemployed and their families have to endure.
Information with reference to registered unemployment shows that the number of unemployed Whites, Coloureds and Asians rose sharply in the first three months of the year, viz from 40 104 at the end of January to 53 924 at the end of March. Provisional information in respect of registered Black unemployed people increased sharply in February this year, viz from 33 589 in January to 60 458 in February. Fortunately there was a drop to 50 129 in March.
The Government has been giving attention to the question for years and has recently launched special efforts to relieve the question. The “White Paper on a Strategy for the Creation of Employment Opportunities in the Republic of South Africa” as well as the “Report on an Investigation into the Small Business Sector in the Republic of South Africa, with specific reference to the factors that may retard the Growth and Development thereof”, amongst others, attest to this.
In addition to the preceding, during the second half of 1983, an Action Committee for Employment Creation was appointed with a view to short-term work creation campaigns by the authorities. An amount of R27,5 million was voted for this purpose and approximately 57 000 unemployed people benefited by programmes that were introduced.
In 1982 the department launched a training programme for workseekers under the age of 30 years with low educational qualifications and more or less no experience. The programme got into its stride fully in 1983, and particularly in 1984, when 9 250 workseekers were trained.
In his Budget speech in 1985 my colleague the hon the Minister of Finance set aside R100 million for the continuation of short-term employment creation programmes and short-term relief of distress in those areas where unemployment is at its worst. As a result of this announcement the Department of Manpower, in co-operation with the National Training Board, designed a second and more comprehensive scheme for the training and placement of unemployed people as a contribution to the combating of unemployment, and submitted it to the Action Committee for Employment for discussion. As a result of this scheme the action committee recommended to the Government that an amount of R25 million of the R100 million be set aside for the purpose of such programmes, and a supplementary budget will be submitted to Parliament for this purpose.
The new scheme makes provision for the training of unemployed people of all population groups in directions in which vacancies exist at present or in which shortages are expected in future. The scheme makes provision for the eight public group training centres and their satellites, as well as private training centres which are registered with the Department of Manpower, to give training to unemployed people on their own properties as well as on suitable properties in smaller towns and cities in various parts of the country. The employment of suitable instructors and supervisors from the ranks of unemployed tradesmen is being envisaged for this purpose. The scheme also makes provision for the payment of subsistence allowances to the unemployed for the duration of their training. During and after training special efforts will be made to place unemployed people in available vacancies. Provisional recruitments indicate that despite the levelling off in the economy, there is a significant number of vacancies for which there are no suitable candidates.
A Special Action Committee for the Training and Placement of the Unemployed under the chairmanship of the Director-General of Manpower is being envisaged to launch and monitor the programme. The National Training Board and the private sector will also be represented in the committee.
It is expected that a total of about 36 000 unemployed people can be trained in terms of the envisaged scheme in the present financial year.
Mr Chairman, I am glad that the hon the Minister started this debate on the subject of unemployment. I shall be returning to that subject at some length a little later on in my speech.
Mr Chairman, may I claim the privilege of the half-hour, please? The first thing I would like to say, is to compliment the department on the manpower report which has come to us very much earlier this year. It is the earliest ever since I have been in Parliament, and of course it makes for a much more fruitful and meaningful debate. I shall be making a number of comments on this quite excellent report. One comment I should like to make in lighter vein is that I am not sure who chose all the photographs and pictures, but there is a very smart photograph of the Director-General and I am glad it is there—at least it spares us having to look at the hon the Minister! [Interjections.] However, I did wonder whose idea it was to have this photograph on page 116. I do not know whether the hon the Minister has seen it, but I am not quite sure what the caption should be, whether it should refer to the Minister or that he was looking for him or whatever … [Interjections.]
He is trying to find out where job reservation went! [Interjections.]
I should like to say how much we also appreciate the visit to Bifsa and the industrial council which was arranged by the Director-General only a few weeks ago. I found both visits very worthwhile and rewarding, and I hope that further visits of this kind will be made during the course of the recess as well as during the parliamentary session.
This is the first time for many years that we have had no manpower legislation whatsoever in a session of Parliament. In the past few years we have had a great number of Bills and reports. So this year is exceptional. I must say I am in general agreement with this pause so that we can reflect on the many changes that have been introduced, and also allow management, labour and all concerned to become much more acquainted with the changes in legislation and actually practise them and try them out. So I have no quarrel with that. Inevitably though, there are of course a number of problems which will have to be addressed, for example the status of the industrial court. It seems to me that very soon this House will have to give attention to that matter as well as to the definition of unfair labour practice and many other such issues.
When we turn to the report I should like to refer to page 2 under the heading “Staff”. Last year I referred to the fact that there were a lot of vacancies in the Department of Manpower, and I do think that it is a disturbing tendency that once again there have been 500 resignations and 515 new appointments. It is not a good example I think in terms of the retention of staff. What is even more worrying is the fact that a large number of vacancies, 758 to be exact, were simply not filled suitably. Against the background of a very troubled time in our economy with large-scale unemployment, I would have thought that staffing would be one of the absolute priorities of the Department of Manpower so as to set examples if nothing else.
I think too, Sir, we have to take cognizance in the report of the increase in the number of strikes and in work stoppages. We can comfort ourselves by comparing what has happened in South Africa with what has happened in other parts of the world. Most strikes and work stoppages in South Africa are of a shorter duration than they perhaps used to be previously. Nevertheless, we can also add—and rightly so—that because of the developments which have taken place in industry and in labour legislation it is inevitable that there will be some degree of settling down. No one wants to see strikes and no one wants to see work stoppages, and I think the fact that we have an escalation in this regard, despite the profound recession, is extremely worrying.
I was expecting to read in the annual report some reference to the farm-workers and domestic workers report, and during the course of this debate I hope the hon the Minister will tell us something about the status of that report and also when we can expect it because it is long overdue now.
There was a suggestion that all departments would like to cut down on their budgets. This is of course quite understandable, even desirable. I do think, however, we must be very careful that we choose how we cut down on those budgets. I am not sure now—and that is why I am asking this question—whether the National Productivity Institute has had its budget reduced. I should like the hon the Minister to tell us whether that is indeed the case. I think the amount mentioned in this regard was R5 million. There has been some suggestion that it has been reduced. If my facts are wrong the hon the Minister will obviously correct me. If I am right, however, I believe this is one area, particularly now, in which we cannot simply cut down. I would rather see it cut down in relation to overheads than in respect of the institute which deals with productivity.
The final comment I want to make under this heading is a brief reference to sheltered employment. This does not affect a great number of people but the impact that it has on these people is quite significant. On page 8 of the report we are given the details relating to the sheltered employment scheme. A great deal of controversy has surrounded the working conditions of many of these employees, and when I raised this issue in the debate on this Vote last year I understood the hon the Minister to say that this whole matter was being investigated and was going to be thoroughly reviewed. I do not, however, see any evidence of that in the report.
I also want to refer to the fact that of a total of 1 850 people who are in sheltered employment a mere five are from the Black population group. I do not believe for a moment that only five of the total Black population of South Africa are deserving of sheltered employment. I know of course that traditionally this refers to ex-servicemen but I do not think it is necessary that we should always maintain each and every tradition, and I hope that the hon the Minister will tell us something about his future goals as far as sheltered employment for all South Africans is concerned.
Yesterday the hon the Minister made a statement regarding the appointment of the new National Manpower Commission which reflected a quite serious reduction in the number of members serving on that Man power Commission. Let me say immediately that I welcome that most strongly. I think the commission has been top-heavy, and as a result of that it has not been able to do the best work possible. I am very delighted that the number of members has been reduced. I am not at all sure if it is as small as it ought to be.
One of the factors which has emerged is that a number of trade union officials have been appointed to this Manpower Commission. It was of course immediately noticeable that emergent unions—if I may use that phrase—are not there at all. I gather they were approached and were asked to serve on that commission. I will be delighted if the hon the Minister will tell us if this is indeed so. By whom were they approached? To whom was the approach made? What were the reasons given—if any—why they refused to serve? I believe these questions are extremely important.
I want to raise another matter and, while the hon the Minister will say that it has nothing to do with the Department of Manpower, I believe it has. I am glad that the hon the Minister of Law and Order is present in the House tonight. It does seem to me that every time we debate this particular Vote, we have to refer to certain unpleasant incidents. Now once again on the eve of the debate we have the death of yet another trade unionist, Mr Andries Raditsela.
The Minister is not listening.
Sir, I wonder whether the hon the Minister of Law and Order would give me his attention.
Order! The hon member may continue.
I was making a comment concerning the Department of Law and Order and, while I appreciate that we are discussing the Manpower Vote, this matter does involve both departments. I would therefore be glad if the hon Minister would listen to this. The death of yet another trade unionist in an already tense South Africa is like putting a match to dry grass. It is shocking, to say the least, that there seems to be no end to persons dying whilst in the custody of the police or of various authorities. There is something very serious and even sickening going on in the townships of South Africa and we probably know little of what disorder and lawlessness is taking place, sometimes with those in authority being among the chief culprits. If this man had not been a trade unionist, I wonder whether we would have heard anything at all about his death. Labour peace is so fragile in South Africa that it needs to be nurtured, not undermined. I expect, and demand, that there should be the fullest investigation into the circumstances surrounding yet another death. There have been some explanations, but I do not think that that has been good enough. We are unfortunately in the situation in this country that, no matter what the explanations are, when they concern the death of somebody in custody nobody even believes them anymore. I believe this incident demands the fullest and most independent investigation.
I mentioned that I was glad that the hon the Minister of Manpower referred to the problem of unemployment. Rightly, the Department of Manpower’s report itself makes specific reference to the increase in unemployment in South Africa, the commitment of the department itself and of the Minister to assist the unemployed through the UIF and by other means and the department’s determination to focus on job creation.
There is considerable disagreement and debate surrounding the estimate of how many people are actually unemployed. We could spend a great deal of our time in this debate talking about the official figures and the unofficial estimates, but I do not intend entering that debate. All of us will agree, though, that the situation is not only bad but is getting worse. Black unemployment in particular is soaring. Because of the recession and the low growth rate, the future looks even bleaker and darker, and unemployment, it seems, will grow space. It is estimated—and these are figures we are all in agreement on—that with a growth rate of 3,6% unemployment will reach 21,9% in 1987—that is only two years away. With a growth rate of 5%, it will be 11,5%. Every day there are headlines in the Press which tell of bankruptcies and retrenchments and every day the list of unemployed grows longer and so we are beginning to talk not only of hundreds of thousands but of millions.
At present approximately 408 920 job seekers come onto the market every year, of whom 77,3% are Blacks. By the year 2000 that figure will increase to 535 000 of whom 83,3% will be Blacks and if we project as far ahead as the year 2015, there will be 641 000 people looking for work of whom a staggering 87,2% will be Blacks. I believe it is no exaggeration to state that unemployment should be seen as Public Enemy No 1.
There are numerous implications which flow from unemployment. Firstly the unemployment problem cannot only be interpreted as mere statistics in a national growth plan. Behind the statistics are ordinary men and women for whom unemployment has terrifying implications. When unemployment knocks on their door, it brings with it companions who are persistent in their cruel demands.
For some, unemployment means the loss of dignity and self-worth; for some it means the loss of a home because they cannot any longer afford to pay repayments on bonds or rent; for some it means the denial of opportunities for their children; for many it means not knowing where their next meal is coming from; for many thousands it means losing the right to remain in the urban areas and being forced back to homelands where there are no jobs; and for many it means leaving school after years of study and preparation with no prospect of employment whatsoever. For all it is degrading and demoralizing.
When we consider secondly not only the human face of the unemployed but also that by and large the unemployed are to be found within the disenfranchized sections of our population, then we find that unemployment takes on serious socio-political implications. There can be no doubt that one of the most significant background causes of disturbances in townships throughout our land is the lack of job opportunities. Eland in hand with spiralling unemployment is the increasing number of Black matriculants coming on to the labour market, and can there be anything more frustrating for one who has been battling against all the odds to find that there are no vacancies although one has a matriculation certificate?
Unemployment fans the flames of anger and resentment. In the townships of Uitenhage, the centre of recent tragedies, it was estimated by businessman and trade unionists with whom I spoke that unemployment is running at more than 25%. This means one out of four are unemployed. They said that that was a conservative figure. There is an increasing mass of people with nothing to do, and people grow alienated, angry and hungry. This Committee had better ask the question: What better ingredients for mass demonstrations and mob action? What better fuel to add to our racial tensions when the overwhelming number of unemployed are Black and the employers, those who do the hiring and firing, are in the main White?
Large-scale and long-term unemployment is a serious problem in any country, but when there exist deeply felt political grievances and a highly unequal distribution of income, the problem is compounded. Unemployment in a word creates desperate men who seek desperate means to survive. The price of large-scale and long-term unemployment therefore is a price that South Africa cannot afford to pay.
Those of us who are more directly involved in the fight against disinvestment will know that one of the primary motivations is the fact that any more unemployment can only cause even greater dislocation in our country and therefore add to the problem rather than resolve it.
Trying to address the problem is one thing, but trying to resolve it is another. Let it be conceded immediately that there is no easy and swift solution. Cyclical unemployment is one thing and it is corrected in the normal course of events as the business cycle improves, but structural unemployment—that is unemployment which exists even though there are people who desperately are seeking and want work and who even have some qualifications which enable them to work but cannot find work—is a problem which demands urgent and serious consideration. There are for example the training programmes for the unemployed which the hon the Minister will know better than any one. However, it is one thing to train people but it is something else when one finds that even though one has trained them, there are no job vacancies. The frustration is then increased.
I want to suggest a number of initiatives which could be acted upon in order to try to alleviate this ever-growing problem. Because of the time factor, I can only state them rather briefly.
Firstly, because there is no easy solution and because this will not be solved overnight, I urge the hon the Minister to appoint not only the committees he has referred to but also an employment opportunities commission. The hon the Minister will note that I state this positively and do not want it called an unemployment commission. What is required is not merely to analyse the problems but also to bring together the best people in commerce, trade, industry, the trade unions, universities and the Government in order to mount a dynamic programme to foster job creation. Part of this commission’s responsibility, apart from research, will be the calling together of a conference which all interested parties could attend and make their own contribution towards.
Secondly, there must be a planned movement away from a capital-intensive economy to a labour-intensive economy. In order to encourage this the Government will have to offer better tax incentives to industrialists which will encourage them to move towards such labour-intensive investment in urban as well as in rural areas, but in particular in urban areas where we have the major concentration of industrial development.
Thirdly, economic growth must be encouraged at every level. Part of the answer to increased growth is increased productivity, but in order to increase productivity we have to improve training. Training rests upon the foundation of a sound, basic education. It is on this area of education and training that greater emphasis should be laid.
Fourthly, our greatest hope for job creation lies in the active development of the informal sector. It is the informal sector which shows the most scope for expansion and upgrading. It is essential therefore that the entrepreneurial spirit in this more dynamic part of the modern informal sector be nurtured rather than stifled. Instead of breaking down modest shacks which are used to operate one-man businesses, instead of bedevilling the informal sector with laws and regulations, we ought to be encouraging the informal sector in rural and urban areas. There is a real danger that regulation and red tape and even sophistication will smother rather than encourage the informal sector.
Fifthly, there must be a change in agricultural patterns. This is a controversial area but agriculture is possibly the only sector of the economy capable of absorbing relatively large numbers of workseekers within a fairly short period of time. The irony is that whilst agriculture has grown, the number of jobs in this sector has shrunk. If we are serious about tackling unemployment, there will have to be a radical redistribution of economic resources in South Africa. What we have at the moment is a comparatively small number of very large farms with a great deal of capital equipment, whereas what is required is a large number of economically viable farms which rely more on labour than on capital.
Sixthly, as a matter of urgent priority, pass laws which are a symbol of the inferior status of Blacks must go. Influx control contributes to unemployment and should be scrapped. Labour mobility is central to the free enterprise system but the majority of workers in South Africa are deprived of this right.
Finally, but of the utmost importance, is the introduction of a social security plan for South Africa. This will be highly controversial among many members in this House, and I know that there will always be those who will abuse the system, but we have to distinguish between socialism on the one hand and social security on the other. They are not the same. The reason why Great Britain and the United States can cope with high unemployment is because there is a social security system which enables families to keep body and soul together. In South Africa, where First and Third Worlds rub shoulders, where there is massive poverty, malnutrition and increasing joblessness, it is of the utmost importance that a social security system be introduced without delay. If we stubbornly reject this, we could put at risk the very fabric of our society and none of us will be untouched. The State has a moral responsibility to care for the victims of our time. [Interjections.] However, it is also in the State’s own self-interest to counter the potential havoc which flows from the hungry, the angry and the despairing unemployed masses. [Interjections.]
In the few minutes that are still available to me I want to refer to some of the recent trouble on our mines. The hon the Minister may feel that this is more relevant under the Vote on Mineral and Energy Affairs but I do not think so because this is a matter of labour.
The recent serious disturbances on some of our major mines are extremely worrying and a cause of great concern. If anyone wants to disrupt our economy seriously, our giant mining industry is probably the most vulnerable. It is therefore particularly important that management and labour keep very cool heads in these unsettled and fast-moving times.
No one, least of all the mining industry, would want to defend the dismissal of 14 000 and 3 000 workers from two mines as being either desirable or effective. [Interjections.] No, Sir, this action offers no lasting solution—that is the point I am making—to differences and grievances and can only lead to a serious loss of revenue and even broaden the area of distrust between management and labour. We are witnessing the awakening of an industrial giant which has been dormant for 40 years. If we want our mines to remain productive and peaceful, we must examine the entire system under which they are at present operating with specific reference to the utilization of labour. While this takes place—and this will involve management and the unions; not only management and certainly not merely the Government—skill, sensitivity and patience are demanded, and not only from management. Black union leaders who for the first time legally have union and bargaining rights, have an awesome responsibility. With their newly earned power and status, they can decide—it is virtually in their hands—whether there will be a slide towards chaos or a steady march towards the settling of grievances and the scrapping of all discrimination.
There are jobs and opportunities in our mining industry for all, but the issues must be resolved at the bargaining table, not in lock-outs on the one hand by employers or wild-cat strikes on the other hand by employees. In this regard the Government can be of real assistance to both parties if it takes its courage in both hands and scraps the job reservation in the Mines and Works Act during this session of Parliament—and I put this to both hon Ministers and this Committee.
Mr Chairman, before I respond to a few aspects of the speech of the hon member for Pinelands, I also just want to congratulate the Director General and the hon the Minister on the very comprehensive but nevertheless compact annual report that we have received so timeously. I think the department can be very proud that as the department which has to set an example of productive labour it also shows other departments how work can be done productively even in the compilation of an annual report which one can receive on time to make a really intensive study of what the department does from time to time.
I agree with the opening remarks of the hon member for Pinelands to the effect that during the recess attention will probably have to be given to certain legislative aspects by means of the standing committee and the department. I am thinking of the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Workmen’s Compensation Act, for example, which will probably have to be looked at again. The hon member also referred to the Industrial Court and particularly to the status of this Court. We know that a report on it has already appeared and that it still has to be studied.
There is also the issue of unfair labour practices. This is a new concept in the field of labour and I think it is something that is going to crystallize in the years ahead. One will be able to expect inputs not only from the department but also from the employers’ organizations, on the one hand, and the trade unions on the other.
It is a fact—and we heard this from the Director General of Manpower—that there is a shortage of particular kinds of people in the department. I found it somewhat disturbing that so many of the new additions to the labour complement of that department were either very young or female. One does not want to discriminate on the grounds that so many more women are appointed, but it is not widely known how many thousands of hours of overtime are worked by that staff. This is when having women in that position creates a problem.
I agree that the National Manpower Commission should be reduced in size. I also do not think we should ever again receive such a voluminous report as this year’s to have to plough through. I think even the hon the Minister had difficulty working through those bulky volumes.
As was to be expected, the hon member for Pinelands sided with the pronouncements of Fosatu—as we learned from the Press. He sided with the claim made by Fosatu because the deceased was a member of the trade union movement. I think the trade union to which this gentleman belonged was the Chemical Workers’ Industrial Union.
I do not wish to say anything about that at this point. It was also reported in the Press that an investigation was being carried out; I do not think anyone feels happy about an incident of this nature, where someone dies under circumstances that are perhaps mysterious.
As far as the five recommendations of the hon member for Pinelands are concerned—they are the ones which I thought one could look at—I just want to comment briefly on three of them.
I do not believe we should appoint another commission. It is already being said that the Government tries to govern by means of committees, commissions, councils and similar bodies for which we really do not always have the trained workers or the experts to serve on them. If we really want to give intensive consideration to creating more posts I think use can be made of the National Manpower Commission, because this is one of the reasons for which it was called into being in 1979. Indeed, that commission regarded it as a priority. I therefore do not think we should appoint another commission about which we are going to complain later that it is too clumsy.
The hon member for Pinelands said we should abolish influx control completely so that there can be complete mobility of labour. I do not think the hon member wanted to tell us anything new because that has in any case been the attitude of the hon members on that side everytime year after year and not only in the Manpower debate. Year after year we had to present the other side of the coin, viz: What do we do about housing? We cannot afford to allow new Crossroads to develop from time to time. I therefore think that the arguments against the complete abolition of influx control that have always applied, are still applicable today. The hon member spoke of a “social security system”. I think what the hon member had in mind is that the Government must create a fund—perhaps as is done in Sweden, America and Britain—that offers more security to employees. It is therefore something in the form of a social insurance or a subsidy to employers to employ employees even if it is not a productive service.
Now I just want to put one counter question to the hon member. He belongs to a party which is supported by many industrialists; by many people in the private sector. They say every day, particularly if the economy is in a downward phase: Why is the Government spending so much? They speak of “the Government’s over-expenditure". Where are we to obtain these funds? If only the hon member had gone just a little further and said that we had to cut back somewhere else and then start with such a system even if it was a system on a small scale.
I want to tell the hon member, however, that we have a fund that is administered by this department. It is the Unemployment Insurance Fund. At the moment this fund stands at approximately R222 million. We are at present making payments of about R10 million per month from this fund. On three occasions now we have had to make withdrawals from our fixed investments to provide for our day-to-day needs. The hon member will concede that if the Government had wanted to pay out money, we should have preferred to pay it into the Unemployment Insurance Fund in order to enlarge the fund and improve its benefits. The hon member will concede this. If we had more funds at our disposal we should be able to channel them through this existing machinery, that has the infrastructure and that can determine the needs of the unemployed and their families.
I also want to dwell briefly on unemployment because I think that no one who has anything to do with labour and labour matters today can turn a blind eye to the problems in connection with unemployment in South Africa. There are various methods of determining unemployment. There are basically three methods in South Africa but let us take a look at just one of them. There is the so-called CPS method, the current population survey, that is very interesting. This method involves taking a random sample once a month of 18 000 Black families, 4 500 Coloured families and 4 500 Asian families. By means of projections of the results obtained in this way it can be determined to a great extent how many unemployed families and dependants of the unemployed there are in South Africa. It is true that it is not a completely exact method, but an exact method does not exist in South Africa.
Order! I am sorry but the hon member’s time has expired.
Mr Chairman, I rise to enable the hon member to complete his speech.
According to this CPS method there were more than half a million unemployed in September last year. The hon member for Hillbrow said the other day in another debate that there were probably about one million Blacks who were unemployed. I do not believe we want to dispute it. It is probably very close to the truth. We know what happened between September last year and May 1985. However, I want to make a few assertions. Firstly, it is basically not the task and the function of the Department of Manpower to create job opportunities. Basically that is the job of the free entrepreneur. If there are two departments at which I could indeed point a finger, if I am to turn from our own Department of Manpower now, it is the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Finance. They could perhaps assist in the creation of new job opportunities by encouraging the private industrialist by means of subsidies and even loans. This department is nevertheless doing everything it possibly can.
However, I want to say—perhaps it is debatable—that if one department in the Public Service of South Africa were suddenly to decide either not to fill 45 000 posts, or to freeze them, or eventually to remove them from the establishment, it would mean that 45 000 job opportunities for workseekers would have disappeared.
It has become a habit to point a finger at the Government when the economy has not been faring well. I want to mention for the consideration of the hon member for Pine-lands that that is when it is said that the Government spends too much. That is when the Government is obliged to take steps to save and economize. However, this has a secondary effect. I therefore believe that we shall still have to “hamba kahle” a lot before we applaud ourselves for freezing or not filling 45 000 posts in one department. We shall see that taking this kind of action will also have a secondary effect on our job supply and job creation.
I want to dwell for a moment on the growth of trade unions in South Africa. Since 1979, with the coming into effect of the new Act and the change in the definition of “employee”, trade unions in South Africa have grown tremendously. Recently an additional 58 new trade unions have applied for registration. Of those, only four were for Whites; six were for Coloureds and Asians; 29 were for Black people only—it is interesting that they are not mixed but only for Blacks; and 18 mixed trade unions, or trade unions that one may regard as being open. It would appear that we were correct also to encourage—not compel, but encourage—trade unions for Black employees to register. These people are making increasing use of the machinery of the Labour Relations Act. An increasing number of applications are being made to industrial councils and conciliation boards, and increasing use is being made at the Industrial Court as a peacemaking instrument in South Africa. [Interjections.]
There are 193 trade unions in South Africa today. They represent approximately 1,4 million employees. I think the hon member for Pinelands will also concede that certain trade union leaders, certain members of their staff and their office-bearers, do not always employ trade unionism or the trade unions to which they belong in the interests of the employee, the member of the trade union. [Interjections.] They often use it in their own interests, very often for political reasons, and I want to go so far as to say they even use it in the interests of subversion. [Interjections.] I make this assertion because I am convinced of it.
I think, however, that with the correct leadership—in the Black trade unions and the mixed trade unions as well—we shall be able to get these people rather to negotiate and bargain. It has been proved that it can work. There were more strikes in 1984 than in previous years. To demonstrate this: the years 1977/78/79 were the most peaceful years in our history as far as strikes were concerned. There were no more than 100 strikes during those years. Since then, however, strikes have escalated dramatically; to such an extent that we had 441 strikes and work stoppages in 1984. This really cannot be beneficial but the fact that these employees could make use of the machinery of the Industrial Conciliation Act and the bureaucracy of the department resulted in the duration of an average strike dropping from 2,8 days in 1980 to 2,1 days in 1984. This shows that positive progress really has been made.
A strike is in no-one’s interests. Let me give the hon members an idea. Now that I am dealing specifically with strikes this evening, I want to say that I am very proud of the White worker. For three years in succession not one White employee went on strike in South Africa. Last year only 16 White employees went on strike. Contrast that with 167 000 Black employees! As I said, it pays no-one to strike.
Let us just take a look at what these strikers lose. The White strikers lost R4 119. However, do hon members know how much the Blacks lost? They lost R4,9 million in salaries and wages.
The employers also lost out. The employers also lost 365 000 man days, due only to the strikes by Black people, and 112 man days due to the strike by White workers.
In conclusion I just want to say something about minimum wages. I see a former colleague of mine has also spoken about minimum wages. I am referring to Dr Zac de Beer.
Minimum wages are not the creation of the Government. The majority of minimum wages and wage determinations in South Africa are voluntary determinations which have been negotiated between employers and employees or their groups. The industrial councils handle minimum wages for approximately 1,25 million workers in South Africa.
However, who serves on the industrial councils? They are drawn from the employer group and the employee group. All the Government does is to manage the structure. However the hon the Minister cannot intervene and say that he is abolishing the minimum wages that they have negotiated. This would surely be uncalled-for intervention in the domestic autonomy of the employer and employee. After all, we are in favour of our industries running their own affairs. As a consequence I think that if we understood the principle of minimum wages we would not speak so glibly about its abolition. We would then rather speak about minimum wages that would always be adjusted to the area and the industry within which they were determined.
I want to conclude by saying that now more than ever before we can put into practice the slogan of “Buy South African”. By buying South African, we keep employees in their posts. I see too many full-page advertisements using the word “Imported”, as if this were something so exceptional. I think it is quite wrong. I think that if we want to build up the economy, if we want to provide more work, if we want to keep our own workers in their posts, then now is the time to encourage everyone to buy South African. But the employee will also have to do his share in that he will have to be more productive in his work to prevent our prices from becoming impossibly high overseas. Moreover the quality of the product will have to be made as acceptable as possible and must be of such a high standard that it will be acceptable not only in foreign markets but also to our own people, to our own buyers in South Africa. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I should like to take this opportunity to inform hon members that due to serious illness, the hon member for Brakpan is unable to be present here today. He underwent a coronary by-pass operation today. It gives me pleasure, however, to inform you that the operation was a success and we hope that the hon member for Brakpan will soon be with us again.
From this side of the House we should like to express our thanks and appreciation to the officials of the department for the good work that they have done during the year. We wish those officials who are retiring on pension, a pleasant retirement and everything of the best for the future.
It was very interesting to listen to the hon member for Roodeplaat. We know him as a great expert in the field of labour. It is always interesting to listen to him because he is a great expert in that field. I was not in full agreement with everything he said, but I particularly agreed with him when he argued that we should buy South African and also that it was unnecessary to appoint another commission as requested by the hon member for Pinelands. So many commissions have been appointed already that the hon member for Barberton said on one occasion that the time was approaching when we would have to appoint a commission to determine what had happened to all the commissions.
I have one minor reproach to level at the speech of the hon member for Roodeplaat. It is that he said nothing about the hon member for Pinelands deeming it necessary to take a swipe at the police again.
Then I shall take him on.
The hon member for Pinelands also made an interesting contribution which indicated that he, too, had made a good study of the subject. There are quite a number of issues on which we disagree with him, for example, the abolition of influx control and so on. This evening, however, I want to reproach him for using this opportunity to cast a reflection on the police once again. We reject that attack on the police. The SA Police have a very difficult task and they deserve support instead of constant suspicion-mongering.
I should like to raise a few issues here tonight. In the first place I want to say that the portfolio of the hon the Minister of Manpower is certainly a very interesting and weighty portfolio. The person who holds that portfolio is responsible for labour peace in this country. If there is no peace and calm in the labour field it becomes a breeding place for internal unrest. As a consequence we on this side of the House are disappointed in the attitude displayed by the hon the Minister of Manpower. I want to mention an example. At present South Africa is burdened by a very serious unemployment problem. According to certain estimates people who, for example, were earning R40 000 per annum now comprise 25% of people who are unemployed. One would therefore expect that the hon the Minister would adopt a very serious attitude to unemployment. However, what did he do? In the Second Reading debate he made a speech and instead of then addressing the serious problem of unemployment he deemed it necessary to make a cheap soapbox speech. He preferred to attack the AWB and to show his disrespect for the “Vierkleur”. [Interjections.]
Now you really are talking nonsense!
The hon the Minister is welcome to say I am talking nonsense. He may be a millionaire today and I am only a poor worker but I am entitled to express my standpoint. [Interjections.] The standpoint of the CP is that the Government has adopted an extremely irresponsible attitude to the very serious unemployment problem and that it underestimates the gravity of the situation.
Did you not hear what he announced?
The Vote of the hon the Minister is still going to come up for discussion and we shall settle accounts with him then. [Interjections.] In this way the Government proves that it has long lost interest in the interests of the worker. The hon the Minister made a few announcements here this evening—he said the Government has been giving attention to the unemployment problem for many years and he referred to the White Paper, the new measures and the new schemes—but at the beginning of his speech he acknowledged that unemployment was still rising sharply. It is the best evidence that the Government has failed as far as unemployment is concerned and that the Minister’s attitude to labour affairs is wrong and frivolous. [Interjections.]
The second point I want to raise is that it would appear that no further labour legislation is being planned this year. We appreciate this because those involved in labour matters will now have the valuable opportunity of assimilating the overdose of labour legislation that the hon the Minister’s predecessor dished out to us.
We also welcome a second trend, the seemingly low profile that the Government is maintaining in the present relationship between employer, employee and State. The State should be the silent partner in whom the other two partners have the greatest trust to settle labour disputes on a non-partisan and objective basis.
There is an aspect which causes the CP grave concern, however, and I am convinced that the NP is also worried about it, ie the disturbing politicization of Black trade unions. This dangerous phenomenon could eventually lead to even the Government of the country ultimately becoming the hostage of the trade unions, as is the case in many overseas countries. Ultimately this makes a farce of democracy. We warn the Government against the dangers of politicized trade unions. As an example, I want to draw the attention of the hon the Minister to a report in The Cape Times of 4 May. I quote the following:
Then they also go on to say:
These are powerful trade unions—just like Fosatu—that are developing into political monsters. As far as those of us in this party are concerned, politicized Black trade unions are not in the interest of the workers of South Africa—regardless of their race or colour. The time has now arrived for the Government to give very urgent attention to this problem.
The other matter that I want to raise concerns the industrial council. The industrial court was supposed to be an easily accessible …
What is your solution to the politicization of trade unions?
I cannot reply to that now, Mr Chairman. I only have ten minutes available to me and my time is already almost up. [Interjections.]
The industrial court was supposed to be an easily accessible, low cost court with simple rules of procedure. What has been shown in practice, however? The industrial court, that was supposed to be a protecting hand for the average worker, particularly in the case of unfair trade practices, is beyond the reach of the average man today. Now it appears that in reality it has become unbelievably expensive to resort to the industrial court—to such a degree that the average worker simply does not have the money to hold his own against large institutions in the industrial court. A question mark therefore hangs over the future of the industrial court as far as its easy accessibility to the average worker is concerned.
I want to conclude. The Conservative Party trusts that the hon the Minister will give his urgent attention to two problems. They are the problems of unemployment, and the disconcerting growth of political power in the membership of the trade unions.
Mr Chairman, I have been sitting and listening to the hon member for Jeppe. Right at the outset, of course, he once again showed that he is so out of touch with reality that it really is bizarre. Quite off the cuff, as it were, he now warned the hon the Minister of Home Affairs and of National Education that when the discussion of his vote comes up, hon members of the CP are going to have a serious talk with him. Meanwhile, the debate on this hon Minister’s vote has long since passed. [Interjections.] On top of this the hon member for Jeppe also uttered the biggest load of nonsense imaginable here. [Interjections.] He really did utter a lot of nonsense here as well, Mr Chairman. [Interjections.] I think he is still suffering from the aftereffects of a blow he sustained somewhere in the Free State—in the vicinity of Harrismith. Perhaps he suffered yet another knock somewhere in the Eastern Cape. That is probably the reason for his confusion. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member congratulated all the officials of the Department of Manpower. It is of course very good that he did that. Moreover I believe they deserve our congratulations. Then, however—this is typical of the hon member, of course—he did not mention a solitary word about what the hon the Minister of Manpower has done and meant for our country over the past year. I believe we should place that on record as well. We should definitely place on record the fact that this hon the Minister was of inestimable value to our country in the labour sphere. If there is anyone who really knows what is going on, who really tries to bring about labour peace and calm in our country it is this very hon Minister. In the absence of an expression of thanks by the CP—which we do not expect, of course, because we after all, know them—I should like to thank the hon the Minister for what he is doing. I also hope that he will continue in this way.
While the hon member for Roodeplaat was speaking we heard from the ranks of the PFP a little interjection to the effect that as soon as the government gives political rights to the Black workers all our labour unrest and problems will simply fade away. Now surely that is an extremely simplistic view, Mr Chairman. In Britain everyone has equal political, and other, rights; the same goes for France and Germany. They however, are saddled with a much, much, larger problem than the one we are saddled with.
Go and tell that to Chris Heunis. He apparently does not know it.
Besides, when we note the diversity of labour channels we have at our disposal in this country and note how those channels are being used to eliminate labour unrest, I really think the hon member for Pinelands ought not to offer such a simplistic solution for the problems of our country.
Tonight I want to focus attention on a matter that troubles me somewhat. It is the issue of training in the present economic times of crisis in which we are living. It is unfortunately a fact that companies regard staff who are undergoing training as non-productive units. They feel that these people are completely unproductive while they are undergoing training and are not at work. I think this is a wrong approach. To me it is almost like an assurance policy. One takes out assurance that one cannot see the advantage of immediately but one day one is going to benefit from it. It is exactly the same with training. If one trained people now one would one day benefit from that training they have received.
What also disturbs me is that in a very large sector, the steel, metallurgical and engineering industry, there has been a sharp decline over the past two years in the number of employees undergoing training. Private training centres—these are training centres controlled by the companies themselves—trained 35 574 people in 1983 and just over 25 000 in 1984. This represents a decrease of nearly 30%. In my view now is the very time that people should be preparing themselves for an upturn in the economic cycle. I believe that at this stage they should already be investing in the training of their personnel.
Training is sometimes accompanied by a bitter aftertaste, and I now want to refer specifically to the labour unrest that we had in the mining sector. Thousands of rands are invested in the training of particularly Black employees in the mining sector. Perhaps it would not be inappropriate to direct a word of warning to the leaders of neighbouring states and to ask them to make a point of informing their employees about the danger involved in what they are doing and about the fact that they are playing with their own future. The leaders of those countries would do well to tell those people that if they enter our labour market we expect them to act within the framework of our legislation in the case of unrest. This is not only relevant to labour unrest. We have also found that groups from different countries come into conflict with each other here. This creates tremendous problems for us. I think I should reiterate: The authorities of those countries should tell their people very clearly that they cannot expect to make use of our hospitality in this country and then want to hold a gun to our heads. We need the co-operation of those authorities in regard to this matter as much as they need our co-operation.
I think it is very important for us to indicate what exactly the mining sector does for these Black employees. Apart from the accommodation, which I regard as probably being the best in the country, the wages and salaries in that sector, compared to the average, are among the highest in the country. Apart from that it is probably the sector that has taken the lead in regard to equal pay for equal work. If one further analyses the situation, one really feels that these employees are not doing their share. In these times I do not think anyone can afford to be without an income.
I want to say here and now that I do not think it is the duty of the Government alone to fight unemployment. I really do think that we should call upon employers to make their contribution, too, to the solution of this problem. There is a lot they can do. They can see to it that unproductive machinery, processes, etc are kept out of their organizations. They could really analyse their problems to see what they can do about this situation. It is not always necessary to fire an employee. Nevertheless our Government will not evade its duty either. We shall do everything possible to try to get the labour corps of this country, White as well as non-White—and this is important—through these difficult economic crises.
The CP must realize this: As a Government we do not only look at one particular group of people; we look at all the different race groups and people in this country, and we shall continue to do so.
Mr Chairman, I should like to associate this party with the remarks concerning the department’s annual report. We should also like to welcome particularly the announcements made by the hon the Minister this evening.
I find that with the very substantial review by the hon member for Pinelands of the year’s actions most of the bones have been picked and therefore I should like to confine myself to two areas. The first one concerns the question of rural employment and training, particularly of Blacks, while in the other area I shall go into a little more detail concerning the sheltered employment situation in the country.
Without being too negative one should put things into perspective as regards the rural employment situation because in the consolidation process the buying up of farms causes a tremendous number of jobs to be lost. White farms have been bought up and those farms are now lying idle while previously that fanner employed a group of farm workers and their families. They lived there and were cared for. There were schools and everything that goes with farm employment. When those farms were bought up, those people found themselves overnight without a job.
In many cases both the SA Development Trust and/or the national states are not farming those farms to the same extent as the farmers did. There is not the same value system as such and therefore there are no jobs. The jobs which the farm workers had, have still not been replaced in most areas. Perhaps many of those people who once had employment on farms could be catered for if the Government were to approach both the SADT and the homeland governments to see what they can do about re-employing those people gainfully.
It is often reported in the newspapers that many of those farm workers come from White farms, as though they had been kicked off them, but that is not the case. It is as a result of Government policy that those people have lost their jobs.
Since the system of registering labour was instituted very recently there has been a distinct inclination towards limiting the number of labourers one has on one’s property. In fact, one has to obtain authority to increase the registered number of workers one has recorded on the big white form which is one’s master sheet and in terms of which the local manpower agency attempts to control the situation. This has the effect of yet another negative input factor concerning the employment of Blacks on farms. Perhaps I should say there is a tendency towards control rather than expansion.
Even today with the registration of farm workers at the development board offices on behalf of the department of the hon the Minister, it really is a farce. If one were to go to one of those offices to ask for a farm worker, one would never get one. One cannot get one because the system just does not function. For years farmers have been paying this fee for registration which actually just goes towards paying the staff who do the book work.
We know that farmers are notoriously conservative when it comes to book work. I do not blame them, but this is a fact. Since they have come as far as registering their labour perhaps the hon the Minister can change the purpose of registration and have the fee paid as a training fee. If that amount was gainfully utilized, either through the SAAU, or the various Provincial agricultural unions separately, for the training of farm staff by way of Boskop or the mobile units, it could be converted to a very good thing. We are going to have to do a great deal of publicizing of the training of staff on farms. The old system has been in operation for a long time and there are many people who do not think their employees need any formal training. From the estimates I see that an amount of only R132 000 has been set aside for propagating the utilization of manpower. I think we are going to have to do a great deal more work promoting the training and utilization of manpower in the rural areas.
In talking about the mobile units and the training of manpower in the rural areas, I want to point out that in the Eastern Province we do not only play the best rugby, especially as far as Northern Transvaal is concerned, but we are also first when it comes to having a mobile training unit for farm workers. The Eastern Cape Agricultural Union is the first union to have a mobile unit for this purpose. Obviously one would like to see many more such units operating all over the country.
The training of manpower in the rural areas and the employment of Blacks are aspects which must be investigated. There is certainly not a dynamic feeling of wanting to participate in the training of the available labour, something which can be achieved in a relatively short period of time, as has been suggested by the hon member for Pinelands, without a large capital input.
As far as the question of sheltered employment is concerned, I would like to refer to page 8 of the annual report, where it is stated:
In other words, perhaps it does not cost the State anything at all. On this basis I would like to suggest that the conditions of employment of those employed in the sheltered employment scheme be looked at very urgently because their minimum wage really is minimal. They cannot come out on it. Some of their conditions of service such as leave and sick leave need urgent attention as well. When one realizes that most of the products which amount to R15 million are sold to Government departments—to quote from the report, “at very reasonable prices”—I would say that one has a case here for invoicing those products out at a market price to show this scheme up at market level, because on that basis it would make a profit, justifying the payment of the improved emoluments we believe these people should be getting. As the hon member for Pinelands also said, there are a lot of misgivings about the circumstances these people are working under. They are doing good work and the Government is getting a lot of cheap products. These products should be invoiced out at the correct market price so that the operation will show a profit and they can be paid more without any cost to the State. Obviously the various departments concerned will have to pay slightly more for the products.
The point I should like to end off on concerns the question of one’s attitude towards labour as a whole, particularly Black labour. If there is one resource which this country lacks absolutely and which we are desperately going to need, it is skilled labour. As a strategic requirement—particularly when the upturn in the economy comes—it will be imperative to accelerate the pace of training so as to broaden the whole input or scope of the economy in order to enable us to make the slices of the cake which are going to be demanded really meaningful in the reform process or else we are going to experience very bad times. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure to speak after the hon member for King William’s Town. He certainly did not make a controversial speech because he spoke first about the improved training of labourers in the agricultural sector and at the end of his speech he also referred to the need for high-level manpower which is so important in the economic life of every country. Probably that is an assertion that cannot be faulted.
As an introduction to my speech, however, I want to praise the hon the Minister and his department for the way in which the very important business of manpower is attended to. The comprehensive annual report is evidence of this. May I say that when I look at the annual reports of all the departments—the reports are probably very important and one welcomes them—I gain the impression that it really is an extensive job, and I wonder how many man-hours go into their compilation. However, it is probably unavoidable that this onerous task be done to give a reflection of the work that is done by the department involved.
I should also like to express my thanks for the way in which the hon the Minister and his predecessor, in conjunction with the department, did everything in their ability to further training in this country. I do not think this is an assertion that can be contradicted. I truly believe that if one looks objectively at what is being done in various ways and according to various methods it would be unreasonable not to acknowledge that a great deal has been done to further training in this country, over the past number of years in particular. We greatly appreciate this and I think we should also accord it the necessary acknowledgement.
Reference was made earlier in the debate to manpower from our neighbouring countries. It is a fact that these workers play an important role in many of our industries. I just want to remark in passing, however, that I think these neighbouring countries should also show greater recognition of what they receive from this country, particularly in the light of the fact that their people come and work here in our industries and earn money. As soon as any of these people are dismissed for one reason or another the sensitivity in regard to this matter is immediately reflected by a response that shows that the money that these people from our neighbouring countries earn here, is of great value to them. We do not begrudge them this money; in fact, we are grateful that this country is in a position to provide job opportunities for people from our neighbouring countries as well. However, I think they should show a little more recognition in this regard.
The work done by artisans in this country is an extremely important component of the country’s manpower and is an essential facet of the economy of the country.
I should like to refer to the report recently released by the HSRC, specifically in connection with the training of these people. I want to refer specifically to the training of mechanics in the motor industry and I want to concentrate on the problems of this industry. The number of artisans in this industry is 22 321. At present there are 1 848 vacancies and in 1984 there was a drop in new enrolments into the motor industry. Interest in this industry has therefore waned somewhat. Of course one has to take the present economic trends into account.
I want to make the assertion that the motor industry is one of the key industries in the South African economy. The work done by motor mechanics is important because firstly, motor vehicles are very expensive and, secondly, it is also true that repair costs are exceptionally high. I think every car owner is painfully aware of this. The owners of motor vehicles therefore expect that repairs should be of a high standard. New vehicles are becoming increasingly sophisticated and in consequence make higher demands on the mechanics.
The quality of apprentices in the motor industry is mainly determined by the practical and theoretical training that apprentices undergo, because that, in fact, is where the labour force in the industry is drawn from. There are in fact specific advantages in a system of in-service training, which is also the case in this industry. It is true, however, that if an apprentice works under the supervision of a poor artisan the results will be unsatisfactory. That is only logical. The only way in which the standard of training can be raised is to ensure that the apprentice will undergo periodic practical and theoretical training from qualified instructors at training centres, and writes the necessary trade tests during his apprenticeship.
The present system of evaluation is not satisfactory; this was also found in this investigation. One should not be over-critical now, nor is it fair to generalize. I think that in the majority of cases satisfactory service is in fact given.
One trusts that the proposals of the HSRC investigation will be implemented in such a way as to improve considerably the quality of artisans in the motor industry.
There are numerous other areas where people are in fact thoroughly trained to provide certain services. The opportunity is created for them to undergo the necessary theoretical and practical training. Then, when they are released to perform their task, they are equipped to maintain a reasonable standard of service.
Unfortunately this is not always the case with artisans who have not been trained satisfactorily. If during the apprenticeship period apprentices could periodically undergo specific training by good instructors for a term or so, we would reap the benefits.
The various colour groups have up to now not made an exceptional contribution in this industry. If one analyses the figures relating to the artisans in this industry one notices that the number of Coloureds, Blacks and even Asians is insignificant. In fact it devolves upon the White artisans in this industry today to provide services to the other population groups in this country as well. I believe the time has come for these people, too, to contribute towards supplying this very important service so that the quality can improve to such an extent that we can have satisfactory service in this area as well and in doing so also save a lot of money, because poor service results in a lot of repairs and causes damage to expensive vehicles. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I shall come back to some adult-training matters which the hon member for Welkom mentioned but I just want to say to him that one of the reasons why there are so few Black, Coloured and Indian artisans in the trades is of course simply that there was job reservation until quite recently. [Interjections.]
I want to start with a little story. Last year the sugar industry entertained a group of members of Parliament on an extensive tour. The last stop on this tour was their pride and joy, their training centre near Verulam. This training centre is often on the itinerary also of visiting overseas dignitaries to show off our private sector initiatives in training. Forgetting perhaps that this was not one of those come-and-see-the-true-facts-about South-Africa type of groups, the manager proudly showed us the marks on the walls and the floor of the kitchen as testimony of the fact that until recently they had to have separate dining and kitchen facilities for Blacks, Indians and Whites. He also assured us that cutlery and crockery were now totally integrated and even that hostel facilities were shared on a non-racial basis. [Interjections.]
What astounded me about these great revelations was the fact that the Nat MPs cheered this gentleman and then turned on me and said that I dragged politics into the issue. I did nothing of the sort. [Interjections.] All that I did was to point out respectfully to the association that they were in fact acting totally unconstitutionally on two counts. The first was that agriculture was an own affair and they were treating it as a general affair; secondly, that education at all levels, including that of adults in the trades, was an own affair and once again they were committing the cardinal sin of treating it as a general affair. Of a less serious nature, of course, were all the transgressions of the Group Areas Act by eat, sleeping and educating together, and that “nogal” without a licence.
*I now suggest that the “verkramptes” and the “verligtes” should fight it out, and I hope the “verligtes” will win this time and change our Constitution so that manpower training may fall under the hon the Minister of Manpower in terms of section 3(1) of the Manpower Training Act.
As far as adult education is concerned, I also want to refer to the report by the HSRC. As an individual study report it is a thorough piece of work and I hope it is not going to gather dust on the shelf along with the De Lange Report. What worries me is that the De Lange Report has already lost so much of its impact that this study document cannot be regarded as supplementary to that report, but rather as running parallel to it and sometimes even contrasting with it. The De Lange Report contained excellent proposals with regard to education as a whole. It proposed that there should be an integrated system—I am not talking about a racially integrated system, but about integrated academic, technical and job-orientated training—so that people will be able to move from one form of education to another from an early age. Very little of that has been embodied in this report. I therefore suggest that the hon the Minister should study the report of the De Lange Commission again before producing a White Paper; and I advocate once again that in the interests of South Africa, the government should combine all education and training under one ministry, so that this lack of co-ordination may not be perpetuated.
†As regards training in the private sector, it is an important part of manpower development and many firms have invested large sums of money in the establishment of in house and group training centres. This is partly as a result of the Carlton and Good Hope indabas where the partnership between private enterprise and Government was established.
The hon the Minister has an opportunity to disprove some of the allegations that there was very much a one-way traffic in that the Government is palming off those areas in which it cannot cope, namely housing and training, to the private sector. I want to make an offer to the hon the Minister. This was passed on to me by the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors and I hope that the hon the Minister will give serious consideration to it. At the last meeting of this Federation with a group of Parliamentarians—the Minister was also present there—I saw some old acquaintances and I was shocked to hear from one of them that his firm had decided to close down and to offer for sale an entire training establishment at Newcastle. This is an extremely well-equipped centre. It has full accommodation for staff and students. The centre was in fact geared to train up to 3 500 students per year. The training ranged from basic literacy and numeracy courses to courses of high skills in building and civil engineering. At that same meeting, we could establish on further enquiry that several other firms were also closing down their training facilities or putting them in moth-balls. The decisions were based purely on cash flow considerations. Notwithstanding tax concessions, the firms just did not make the money in order to reap those tax benefits. I persuaded some of these gentlemen to postpone their decisions. They agreed, but on one proviso, namely that they receive some co-operation from the Government.
This hon Minister has been allocated some funds this year for the training of unemployed people, and he has also been allocated an amount for the creation of temporary jobs. My request to the hon the Minister is that he immediately extends an invitation to the private sector in general and specifically to the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, who are experiencing a tremendous cut-back in capital projects, that they sit down together with them and consider how this money can best be spent. The Federation has indicated to me that they could easily restaff these centres with the trained personnel because they have not yet laid them off, but have just transferred them to other departments. This will preserve these institutions and it will not cost the Government a lot of money since the infrastructure already exists. I trust that the hon the Minister will give serious consideration to my suggestion.
Finally I want to appeal to the hon the Minister, who must ensure that the optimum use is made of our manpower resources, to look also at the Government’s own demands on manpower. Hon members will agree that in every case the ceiling on our growth phases could in fact be attributed to the shortage of skilled manpower. I want to advance the argument that this is an artificially low ceiling because of the Government’s own demands on manpower. As an example, I can point out that the SATS employs approximately 230 000 people. The ratio between White and non-White is only 1:1,24. This ratio should be much nearer to one White for every five non-Whites if it were to be a true reflection of the labour force in South Africa. In the Department of Posts and Telecommunications the ratio is even worse, namely 1:0,8. In the rest of the Public Service pretty much the same thing applies. I am thus suggesting that the Public Service is in fact “middle-heavy” with highly skilled Whites. Some of these workers could be replaced at the same total cost with a greater number of slightly less-skilled people so that some of those well-trained people from the White group could be released to take up challenging positions in the private sector.
Another serious intervention in the manpower pool is, of course, the Defence Force where every young White male spends four years of his productive life. If one accepts that a working life spans 40 years, it means a 10% drain of the most skilled group in our society. The intake of people into the Defence Force for military training totals 30 000 annually. Taking only the two years spent on intermittent training in the Defence Force, it means that 60 000 people are withdrawn from the White labour force every year. Taking into account that up to 10 people on the lower levels are dependent on the skills of one manager, the effect is that either unemployment or gross inefficiency is built into the system. I hope the hon the Minister will give attention to this.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Greytown came up with a very complicated plan and said that in a certain State Department which was overloaded with highly skilled workers we should take that group away and replace them with a less highly skilled group. We should then try to manoeuvre those highly schooled workers into the private sector. However it is not so easy to move the workers around. It is not such an easy solution as it appears to be.
In his introductory speech the hon the Minister referred to unemployment and intimated that it was a serious problem. He added that it was undoubtedly one of the main headaches of any government. We know that unemployment can be the forerunner of considerable difficulty because there is no better instrument in the hands of the anarchist to help him achieve his aim. For that reason any government will do anything in its power to keep the unemployment rate as low as possible. I want to thank the officials in the regional offices in the Department of Manpower throughout the country for their zeal in providing employment for workseekers as effectively as possible.
If we consider the list of workers’ rights we note that one of those rights is to offer his labour. However, that is not the whole story. There is something else as well. It is not simply a matter of the rights of the workers; it is also a matter of privileges, or the opportunity to practice, and remain in, one’s chosen occupation. In other words it is not merely a matter of a job opportunity, but also one of security of employment.
Uncertainty is a gnawing cancer, and why should it be any different in the employment situation? In the labour situation it is even more true because the issue here is whether or not one has bread to eat. The issue here is whether or not one is able to meet one’s financial obligations; whether or not one has a roof over one’s head. Moreover, it seldom affects an individual; it affects families, it may affect communities, and it must necessarily have a most negative destabilizing effect on family and community life.
If we ask ourselves who wants security of employment for him or herself, what is the reply? It is not only the man in the managerial post but also the man on the lowest rung. It is not only the highly-skilled worker but also the unskilled helper. It is not only the professional man but also the man who does manual work. It is not only the man employed by the State but also the one working in the private sector, and it is not only the White worker but also the Black worker, the Coloured and the Asian who have the right to occupy a post in the labour market. That is to say, if it is a matter of security of employment there simply cannot be a privileged group sharing that benefit. It affects everyone.
For reasons that are well-known and that I do not wish to spell out this evening due to a lack of time, our labour legislation has been looked at afresh since the late 70s and every right-thinking person will have to recognize today that the NP Government made the necessary adjustments in good time. [Interjections.] No-one would dare repeal this legislation because to do so would point to only one thing, and that is a negation of reality in the field of labour. We are entitled to ask whose responsibility it is to guarantee security of employment. It is the State, the employee, with his employee’s organizations, and the employer, that have a joint responsibility in this regard. The Government was prepared to extend these rights to all workers, and all workers enjoy the same protection of job security under the existing labour legislation. I refer to the abolition of, inter alia, job reservation, the introduction of the Industrial Court and the Legislation relating to the trade unions. I contend that this plays an important role in providing security of employment for all and that it is the foundation for security of employment.
Moreover it is the responsibility of the State to maintain law and order because on that basis sound economical development and growth in accordance with a future-orientated masterplan, with provision of employment as one of the goals, is possible. The employer has an equally important role to play. Sound planning of his business enterprise will mean that any deterioration in the economic circumstances and the resultant adjustments that he will have to make will entail the minimum trauma for his employees. This includes retention of the jobs of the employees. The employers will have to realize once and for all that the negotiation table must not stand unutilized, because the security of employment of his employees must be negotiated at this table. Employees will have to bear in mind that a leadswinger is looking for trouble. It is equally true that there is always an appropriate and sought after job for the best-trained workers.
If we ask about the future we must know that the creation of employment can never keep pace with the over-supply of manpower. This is a fact we shall have to face. Accordingly, competition in the labour market will increase—the employer will become increasingly selective and the employee will have to fit his job like a glove. The employees’ organizations must not be regarded as a threat because negotiations between trade union and employer can play a significant role in guaranteeing security of employment. The healthy bargaining power of the trade union may not deteriorate into a forum for blackmail and threats.
For obvious reasons it would be too idealistic to guarantee security of employment for all, but we must strive towards this. I could hardly think of a better way to defuse conflict in this conflict-laden country of ours than to give the worker the assurance that he will be able to go to work undisturbed the next day. Already the field of labour is emotion-laden. Let us please not be guilty of fanning the flames of emotion further. Nor let us pollute the spirit of our people and our workers.
On one occasion a scholar spoke about the threat to the future of man. He thought that the threat did not lie in the possibility of over-population, with the catastrophic consequences that that entails. Nor did he think that a food shortage posed the greatest threat. Still less did he think that a nuclear war posed the greatest threat. To him the greatest threat lay in the pollution of the spirit of man. Moreover, this is exactly what our enemies are doing in an effort to utilize the uncertainty in the employment situation as a factor bedevilling the situation. We oppose that. We must not allow the spirit of our people and of our workers to be bedevilled.
Mr Chairman, it is always a great pleasure to speak after the hon member for Rustenburg. Indeed, he always makes a very positive and constructive contribution in this House.
This evening I want to confine myself to some extent to the question of productivity in South Africa. I want to say right at the outset that I regard productivity as one of the keys to the solution of our country’s economic and unemployment problems. An attitude of productivity must be cultivated to enable us to strive for a sound growth rate. The training of our corps of workers in order to increase their skills is imperative. To me, however, the quality of management is the greatest cause of the low productivity in our country. Accordingly I should like to confine my speech this evening to the factor of management.
I agree with the view of Mr C J Oosthuizen, managing director of a large Afrikaans enterprise, who said that the prime reason for mismanagement had to be ascribed to the word “baasskap”. Accordingly I prefer to italicize baasskap. A so-called boss must be capable of, and have the ability to, organize his people into a team. I can say here and now that very few of our managers are able to do this.
An increase in productivity does not necessarily mean longer working hours or harder and more work; I should rather say that the quality of the work rendered is of the utmost importance.
One of the biggest problems in this regard is the mismanagement of peoples’ skills. A manager must himself give a lead with regard to the things that have to be done to improve productivity. Workers’ skills and abilities must be improved by training. In our country the ability of the worker is totally underestimated and in most cases he is capable of far more than the work that is entrusted to him.
Through research and with the aid of statistics, Edward During, who is regarded as the father of the Japanese productivity explosion, concluded that 85% of all productivity problems are to be found in management and only 15% in the worker. The improvement of quality is of greater importance than the improvement of productivity. It is always better to do one thing well than to do a lot of things after a fashion. Therefore one must not only concentrate on quantity but should give more consideration to the quality of a service that is rendered.
That is a good speech!
After all, we know, Mr Chairman, that to a large extent labour determines the production cost of an article. New technological methods must be introduced, and where new machines are used, the worker must be fully trained in their use. Productivity may be regarded as a key to a better standard of living, an expansion of economic growth, creation of employment and the combating of inflation.
In order to provide for new workers entering the market we must maintain a growth rate of approximately 5% per annum. Between 1976 and 1984 we had an average growth rate of only 3,5%, and one of the reasons for that was low productivity. We are aware that productivity in the RSA has been so low that it has made a negative contribution to our country’s economic growth rate.
One matter which must certainly be attended to is that of increased wages as against productivity growth. Over the past ten years productivity has increased by 2,3% as against an average salary increase of 14,4%. Productivity in the Republic of South Africa has increased by a mere 0,6% per annum over the past ten years as against, for example, 3% in Japan and almost 8% in Taiwan.
I am also of the opinion that in many instances it must be left to the worker to find the most productive way to perform a task. In this he must be supported by the employer. Productivity targets must be set, and what is more, there must be an effort to reach those targets. Only by way of motivated and trained workers can capital and raw materials be utilized to the optimum extent. Productivity and the increase in productivity are therefore very closely bound up with the education and training of each worker. The worker’s skills and technical training also play a very important role. He must be motivated to carry out the task that has been entrusted to him in accordance with laid down standards.
Trainers of workers must be duly equipped for their training task. I was actually somewhat shocked when I read in the annual report of the National Manpower Commission that in 1980-81 there were 14 187 full-time and part-time trainers. Unfortunately statistics indicate that the majority of these trainers were inadequately equipped for their task and that productivity had not in fact increased noticeably. Management, in turn, failed to ensure that these trainers were properly equipped for their task: Only 34% possessed a post-school qualification; the academic qualification of 41% was between St 8 and St 10; the qualification of 25% of these people was lower than St 8; and only 29% possessed a training diploma. From this it may be inferred that training is not being done justice to.
There must be good relations between employers and employees at all times. To come back to what I said initially I want to say that it is the responsibility of management to create a better working climate and to have workers properly trained for their task, thereby ensuring that productivity increases. In order to achieve higher productivity, employers must make more effective use of their labour force. Productivity may decline as a result of lack of managerial ability, eg by omitting to invest in an interview and by tardiness in the replacement of worn-out or obsolete material. I appeal today to our employers not to underestimate the ability of the worker. So much is said about the lack of productivity in the RSA, particularly on the part of the worker, that by this time the worker has developed an inferiority complex.
I wish to state bluntly that the worker in the RSA is prepared to play his part and is not afraid to compete with any worker in the world. By far the majority of workers in the RSA put South Africa first at all times and they have a great love for this beautiful country in which we live. They, too, would like to see this country of ours going from strength to strength.
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure to enter the debate after the hon member for Carletonville. I want to compliment the hon member on a very constructive speech concerning the relationship between productivity and management. I associate myself wholeheartedly with the ideas he has expressed. I am convinced that this speech by the hon member is of great value in this debate.
I wish to come back for a moment to the hon member for Stilfontein who spoke after the hon member for Jeppe. In his customary and typically arrogant way the hon member for Stilfontein rose and expressed his feeling of hate towards the CP by saying that the hon member for Jeppe had really uttered a lot of nonsense this evening.
In the first place, I ask the hon member for Stilfontein whether it was nonsense when the hon member for Jeppe said that the hon member for Roodeplaat was an expert in the field of labour who had made very constructive contributions to the debate.
I did not say that everything was nonsense.
The hon member for Stilfontein must not try to back down now. He denounced everything he had said as nonsense. We can go and compare his Hansard tomorrow if he wants to contend that I am not speaking the truth.
When the hon member for Jeppe thanked the officials of the Department of Manpower and complimented them on the work they did, was that also nonsense? [Interjections.] When the hon member for Jeppe championed the cause of the SA Police, was that also nonsense? I also wish to ask the hon member for Stilfontein whether, when the hon member for Jeppe warned against the politicizing of Black trade unions, that too was nonsense. [Interjections.] When the hon member for Jeppe associated himself with what other speakers had said about the fact of unemployment, was that also a lot of nonsense?
I just want to say to the hon member for Stilfontein that if he is unable to make a constructive contribution to the debate he must not try to disparage another hon member simply because he is arrogant and his heart is filled with hate.
I wish to associate myself with what the hon member for Roodeplaat said about strikes. The hon member spoke very constructively about the issue of strikes. He referred to statistics in this regard and to the comparison between various population groups as regards the man-days lost. He pointed out that the Whites were vastly in the minority as against the Blacks when it came to strikes.
It is true that the impression is created that in spite of an increase in the number of strikes, the real loss suffered, as measured in man-days, is in fact declining. This is true, but I have another problem that I should like to bring to the attention of the hon the Minister, and he will perhaps be prepared to comment on it.
When a strike takes place, whether it takes two or three days or whether ten to a thousand people are involved, we cannot get away from the fact that such a strike is preceded by incitement and agitation. People are influenced over a period to go on strike. After the strike has been settled and the people return to work, a new beginning has to be made, as it were. My problem is that it seems to me that we regard only the actual day or time that the strike takes place as a period of loss.
I have the feeling—and I think that this really is valid—that this preceding phase that gives rise to the strike is in fact also unproductive as far as the workers who are being prepared to strike are concerned. I think that there is a gradual decline in productivity as the strike builds up. On that basis I wonder whether we should not calculate the man-days which are in effect lost as a result of strikes, in the light of what precedes them as well. I realize that this is difficult to calculate but that it does play a positive role in this regard.
The hon member for Jeppe referred inter alia to the politicizing of trade unions. I think that there is a correlation between trade unions and strikes. In this regard I want to quote from Die Vaderland of 19 April 1985 in which a report appears entitled “Apartheid verbrokkel, sê Oppenheimer”. This is the person who issues the hon member for Stilfontein with his instructions. Although the first section is not directly relevant I must quote it for the sake of clarity. The report reads:
My problem is that when anyone of the stature of Mr Oppenheimer tells people that strikes are the method whereby they can enforce their political rights, then this is a very serious matter which the hon the Minister of Manpower and his department must investigate. I think that this kind of incitement from London by Mr Oppenheimer is fatal for the labour situation in South Africa. We must bear in mind that this man is wealthy and has considerable influence, and therefore what he says must be put under the magnifying glass. The hon the Minister must repudiate this statement by that man.
I wish to dwell briefly on another matter, viz the issue of occupational accidents. According to the statistics in the annual report there were fewer during 1984 than in the previous year. For example, the following is said:
This figure compares well with that of 18 632 of the previous year. For example, in the exposition given it is indicated that 2 526 people were injured by falling in comparison with 2 527 the previous year. The figures relating to accidents for other reasons are all slightly lower than for the previous year. However, they have not declined so drastically as to set one’s mind at rest. Although we greatly appreciate the trouble taken on the workshop floor to prevent this type of accident it does seem as if it is essential to emphasize that precautionary measures must be made more intensive so that these figures may decline drastically. If we could achieve that we should be affording greater security to the workers in our labour situation in the execution of their various tasks.
Finally I should like to express my thanks for the work done with regard to handicapped workers. I believe that the department is performing a very important task in this connection.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Koedoespoort will excuse me if I do not react to what he said, since there is another aspect I should like to discuss, viz the status of the artisan. The total labour force in the Republic of South Africa—excluding domestic servants and labourers in the agricultural sector as well as the TBVC countries—numbers approximately 5,7 million. Of this number of posts, approximately 30% are represented by professional staff, managerial and clerical staff; 6,9% by mining; 20,8% by labourers; 4,5% by artisans and 1,2% by apprentices. The rest, viz 36,7%, are filled by other groups.
It is the two smallest segments of our labour market, viz apprentices and artisans, comprising in total just more than 300 000, about whom I want to express a few ideas. The word apprentice is derived from the Middle English word “aprentis” and the old French word “apprendre” and means “to learn”. An apprenticeship therefore means to learn or to be trained in an art or a specific craft. Traditionally the apprentice lived with his teacher. When he completed his apprenticeship he became an artisan or “journeyman” or, in French, a “journé”. He no longer lived with his teacher, but travelled to his work daily. His aspiration was to become a master himself, and to train apprentices in the code of the guild. The training of apprentices to become artisans and craftsmen is therefore a very important aspect in the labour force of every country.
In the RSA apprenticeship is to a very large extent based on the contribution made by the mining industry and the railways. After a brief phase of development towards the end of the previous century a strong feeling emerged that a formal apprenticeship was the best way of training competent people up to the artisan stage. Thus this training system was formal put into effect in terms of the Apprenticeship Act No 26 of 1922. Since 1922 various investigations into the training of artisans have taken place and important statutory amendments have been effected from time to time.
With reference to a recommendation in the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into Labour Legislation, the Wiehahn Commission, and various representations made by the private sector, on 2 June 1983 the former Minister of Manpower also directed, that an enquiry into the training of artisans be instituted. This year, on 25 April, the hon the Minister of Manpower made public the report of the HSRC and the National Training Board concerning the enquiry into the training of artisans in the RSA. This report can undoubtedly be regarded as one of the most thorough reports published on this subject to date. One of the aspects dealt with by the report which requires further elucidation is, firstly, the pre-apprenticeship training and, secondly, the status of the artisan.
The report is correct in pointing out that there are grave shortcomings with regard to preparation for apprenticeship or artisan training. It is clear from evidence that on the one hand, such training is not regarded by the industry as fully appropriate and, on the other hand, that it makes a positive contribution to apprenticeship training for a short period only. Vocational guidance officers in the schools are for the most part people with academic training who have little or no firsthand knowledge of technical careers such as trades—this explaines the deficient guidance. Effective guidance by teaching staff in general and the vocational guidance teacher in particular concerning the importance of the world of technical occupations is of the utmost importance. The opportunities it affords the child, and its importance for the country, cannot be over-emphasized.
After all, it is no disgrace to work with one’s hands as the artisan does. We find the call to labour even in the Old Testament, and in Genesis 2:5 one reads:
Then it goes on, in verse 15, to state that the Lord God put man in the garden to dress it and keep it.
Labour is not inferior or below the dignity of man. The purpose of labour is specifically to serve God and one’s fellowman.
To come back specifically to the artisan we find that the first example of the artisan is also to be found in the Old Testament. In Genesis 4:22 we find the following:
In our modern life the status of the artisan or craftsman is certainly not what it might be and this was once again shown by the enquiry. As far as this problem is concerned I have already referred to pre-apprenticeship training.
The improvement of the status of the artisan must, in the first place, come from the artisan himself. He must lead such a life as to convince the community of his status. Through his dedication, competence, conduct and example he must convince the community of his indispensable role. There are innumerable examples of artisans not only in this House but throughout South Africa of whom every citizen of the country may be proud. When I say that every citizen may be proud of such a person, I mean it.
When I look at the composition of our total labour force in the country and we look specifically at the building industry we find that there are 14 913 apprentices. The composition of this figure is as follows: The Whites constitute 14%; the Coloureds, 32%; the Indians 4%; and the Black people, 50%. Therefore when we speak about artisans and craftsmen we are not referring only to Whites. Due to our shortage of labour we must utilize the skills of the other population groups as well.
The possible lack of initial high academic qualifications, and the associated manual labour must not be stumbling blocks on the road to success for these people. The artisan holds the key to peaceful development in the field of labour in the Republic of South Africa.
Mr Chairman, I shall come back later to the remarks made by the hon member for Newcastle about the status of the artisan.
I think that the department deserves tribute once again for having published its annual report so soon this year. I think that it is a record for all the departments that the department’s 1984 annual report should already have appeared. We are aware that officials had to work during the Easter recess to enable this annual report to appear and we are very grateful for that.
I should now like to come back to what the hon member for Pinelands had to say about the mine strike. If I recall correctly, in former years he was labour adviser to that mining group. Now, one wonders whether the work done by the hon member for Pine-lands as a labour adviser is perhaps the reason for the problems they have there now. [Interjections.] I think that the foundation was not very well laid when the hon member was there.
In regard to his reference to the unemployment in Uitenhage, it is perhaps also as well to let it be known to the Black inciters of unrest in that area that it is specifically due to their incitement of unrest that there is so much unemployment. We must accept that as long as there is unrest there will also be less economic activity in that area. I believe that it is also the responsibility of that hon member and his party to try to limit the activities of those inciters of unrest for the sake of that region.
This evening I should like to deal with the HSRC report which has just appeared. This report arrived on my table about two weeks ago. The report deals with the training of artisans in the RSA. This enquiry was carried out inter alia on the recommendation of the Wiehahn Commission in part 2 of his report, as well as representations made to the former Minister of Manpower by the private sector. When we consider the memoranda relating to an investigation into the training of artisans and apprentices it is evident from part 2 of the Wiehahn Report that the training of artisans and apprentices must be improved to meet the needs of the country.
Although at present there is no statutory restriction in regard to the training of apprentices from all population groups, it is evident from the latest survey by the Department of Manpower that fairly considerable shortages of artisans are still being experienced in the majority of occupational fields. It is also evident that there is a shortage of apprentices being trained in the various sectors. Accordingly in 1981 the National Training Board identified various needs for research in the field of artisan training. When we consider the input side it is evident that the image of trade training and work is not consistently positive. Therefore there is a need for information as to means and methods whereby this field can be more widely publicized and propagated. Therefore our schools have a duty—and the De Lange Report, too, recommends this—to inform and test pupils even at the primary school level to ascertain where their aptitudes lie. Secondly, although the failure rate among apprentices is relatively low it is clear that people are being trained in fields in which they are not interested or for which they have no aptitude. Therefore there is a need for efficient selection.
As regard the training itself, too, there have been complaints about the relevance of the present training system. Although adjustments have been made over the years with regard to the period of training, it has been asked whether there is not an optimal period of training and if so, what its duration is. On the output side, too, it is evident that the existing system of testing is being questioned. Accordingly it was necessary to consider this aspect as well. Due to this and other problem areas in the training of apprentices and artisans the National Training Board requested the HSRC to enquire into the whole matter. The working committee consisted of 25 persons under the chairmanship of Mr Pittendrigh. Members of this work committee were selected from across the spectrum of the industry that trains apprentices, and from educational institutions where artisans undergo theoretical training. The most important work of the committee is dealt with in chapters 5 and 6 of this report. This has nothing to do with the theoretical and practical training of artisans. In chapter 5 it is recommended inter alia that it is necessary to work in industry for a minimum period of six months so that a prospective apprentice may undergo intask training and experience before enrolling as an apprentice and being admitted for training as apprentice in that occupation.
Tom de Beer is going to put in Sakkie de Villiers against you.
Sir, that hon member had better go and ask his friend Dirk Smit what problem he is having there.
The provision made for the completion of an apprenticeship by effluxion of time is no longer acceptable. It ought to be eliminated as far as possible.
Moreover, in order to get the decision-making process on training up to the level at which training takes place, it is recommended that every industry should establish its own trade training board. The report goes on to recommend that the number of trades be rationalized and it points out that there is a need for closer reciprocal links between theoretical and practical training. A further important recommendation is that all trade training be evaluated by way of proficiency tests. Trade training for adults ought to be on the same basis as equivalent training of apprentices. In order to transfer greater responsibility for training and subject evaluation to the private sector, trade testing ought to be decentralized on an industrial basis. Moreover, it is recommended that the existing system of a once-only trade test be replaced by a series of tests throughout the apprenticeship.
We are coming to the end of the twentieth century. Apart from our economic, monetary and political problems we also have a shortage of trained manpower whereby to increase our productivity. In 1983 it was indicated by the Department of Manpower that at that stage there were approximately 250 000 vacancies for trained artisans, whereas there were only 69 000 apprentices. This represents approximately 6% of our labour force.
Apprentices are trained across a spectrum of approximately 380 different spheres in industry. The careers vary from hairdressing to aviation science. Notwithstanding this wide spectrum, the training of artisans still falls under the Manpower Training Act, 1981. For that reason it is necessary that the Act be adjusted in this sphere too—and we can expect the Government will consider this. The Government has referred this report to the trade unions, the employers and the employees before a final decision is taken. We trust that they will react positively to this report.
Finally I wish to point out that it is not the duty of the State to train apprentices, but that the private sector must use the framework provided by the Government in order to train people.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 19.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.
The House adjourned at